Many potentially life-threatening conditions progress without symptoms. This means that patients can be suffering from conditions that are causing damage to their internal organs and never feel sick at all until it’s too late. Annual physicals provide the patient’s doctor with important information that reveals risk for disease like these. This allows the doctor to order necessary tests for diagnosis and screening and develop a proactive treatment plan to either decrease risk and prevent disease or treat the disease before extensive damage occurs.
Annual physicals are also a good time to discuss changes in condition, mental health concerns, and lifestyle.
During their annual physical, patients can expect:
Most insurance policies recognize the necessity of annual physical exam and cover it under preventative services. In addition, most insurance policies cover recommended preventive screenings such as pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, and blood tests as long as the patient meets the requirements for eligibility. Patients are encouraged to discuss their physical with their insurance company representative prior to their appointment.
Patients are referred to a specialist when they are diagnosed with a condition that requires advanced testing, diagnosis, or treatment from a specialized provider or utilizing specialized equipment. The most common specialists patients are referred to include:
In these cases, the specialist, the primary care doctor, and the patient work closely together to manage the patient’s condition.