More is Not always Better
While traditionally many family doctors have scheduled their patients into the office once a year to do an "annual physical", there is no scientific evidence that this actually prevents disease or saves lives. In keeping with the most up to date medical literature and recommendations, we are moving away from the annual physical and moving towards the Periodic Health Exam.
What is a Periodic Health Exam?
It is an appointment that focuses on health prevention. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, limiting alcohol, and quitting smoking have all been proven to improve your health and will be reviewed at your Periodic Health Exam. Appropriate cancer screening tests, required blood work (if any), and immunizations will also be reviewed. A full head to toe exam is not necessary, and instead your doctor will do a focused physical exam based on your current concerns and your current health.
How often should I get a Periodic Health Exam?
Your doctor will make a recommendation specific to your current health, but in general we recommend a Periodic Health Exam about every three years. Of course, we still want you to book in for a regular appointment if at any time you are feeling unwell or have any acute concern. We want to see our patients with chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes as well as our elderly patients (age>65) more frequently. Talk to your doctor and find out what's right for you.
Want to learn more?
The College of Family Physicians of Canada has made recommendations around the "Annual Physical" including the frequency and necessity of certain screening tests. Yearly blood work is not always required. Click here to find out more.
Choosing Wisely Canada is a campaign to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to help physicians and patients make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care. Click here to find out more.