Annual visits are important. Here’s why to make your appointment

Woman meeting with nurse before doctor's appointment.

Our daily schedules get snarled with must-dos and have-tos. But one of the most essential items to check off your list is your health! An annual visit to your primary care provider is a big part of that.

Your annual visit is typically covered by your insurance provider. And, did you know that if you have Medicare, you’re entitled to a wellness visit every 12 months?

Making that appointment is part of maintaining your health and wellness. Stay on track in your journey to the best health! Here are reasons for keeping up with those annual visits.

Fast facts about doctor visits

Here are some interesting finds in annual visit research.

  • In 2010 in the U.S., there were 77 million health center patient visits. In 2020, that increased to more than 114 million.
  • The average American has four doctor’s visits each year.
  • The CDC says 83% of Americans visited a doctor or health care professional in 2020.

Reasons to make it to your next annual visit

Reasons include detection and prevention of sickness, the ability to ask questions of your doctors, and more. The annual visit is a key part of good health.

1. It’s NOT a physical

An annual visit is different from a physical examination.

What is it? It’s a dialogue between patient and provider about health history and concerns. It’s a review of immunizations and medications.

Why that’s important: It’s a chance to check in on health issues and how to prevent them from exacerbating. Or, how to stop them.

Recommended: Bring a list of medications, including supplements and vitamins. Also, the names of providers, therapists, and immunization records.

2. It’s intended to review treatment

An annual visit is more than a way to measure where your health is at this point in your life. It’s also a great time to plan your treatment for the next year and discuss goals.

What will that do? Your provider will examine your medications, including those other physicians prescribed, for potential negative interactions.

Why that’s important: New data emerges. Some interactions between medicines can hinder effectiveness. Or become dangerous.

Recommended: Inform your doctor of any changes in health or how you feel as a result of medications. The more they know, the more they can help.

3. It can help assess health risk

Your information informs a physician of the best recommended treatment. 

What does that mean? Your physician can compile a list of providers you depend on. And your provider will suggest immunizations.

Why that’s important: It’s a health-risk assessment. It also includes blood pressure, height, weight, and your ability for self-care.

Recommended: Report differences in memory, feelings of depression, and smoking or drinking habits. This can help assess the risk for future illness.

4. It can lead you to screenings

Your health care team cares about your next steps, too. Screenings and other tests can check for disease during a separate visit.

What will it cost? That depends on your medical coverage. Some screenings may not be covered in your plan, but your doctor’s office will inform you if that’s the case.

Why that’s important: It’s part of a wellness schedule that often covers 5 to 10 years. These can include prostate exams, mammograms, and more.

Recommended: Ask your doctor about living wills. There’s a standard form to complete to see that providers honor your wishes should the need arise.

5. It’s a way to compile your personal health record

Most patients have a lot of information in different places. A personal health record compiles it all into one file.

What’s it good for? It’s perfect for visits to clinics or hospitals, or other physicians. You can get a copy of it from your doctor.

Why is that important? Providers can consult with other doctors about your health. A personal health record keeps it all in one place.

Recommended: Be sure your adult children have a copy. They might have to represent you someday at the ER or hospital. 

At Wilmington Health, your health journey is our priority

Annual visits and a comprehensive plan work toward avoiding or curbing health problems. They give your providers an opportunity to ensure you have the best course for you! Contact the Family Medicine or Internal Medicine departments at Wilmington Health today to schedule your annual visit!