Annual Wellness Visits Help To Keep You Healthy
Many people only visit the doctor when they experience symptoms, but seeing a primary care provider when you’re healthy can help to keep you feeling that way. This is particularly true as you age, since older adults are disproportionately affected by chronic conditions.
For anyone with Medicare, scheduling an annual wellness visit every year is an easy way for your primary care provider to determine how they can best support your continued well-being. The annual wellness visit is an opportunity to work with a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant to create or update a Personalized Prevention Plan based on your current health and risk factors.
Not to be confused with a physical exam, the annual wellness visit is an assessment that may help to prevent illness, catch problems early, and improve your overall health. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to establish a strong relationship with your primary care provider.
The primary purpose of an annual wellness visit is prevention. Seeing your primary care provider once a year, even when healthy, can decrease the risk of disease. During the visit, your provider will ask you a series of questions to identify changes in your health from year to year, which can help to prevent problems later.
Catch Health Problems Early
While laboratory tests are not typically performed as part of the annual wellness visit, your provider may order laboratory tests or preventive health screenings based on your age, gender, medical history, and family history. These tools can help to detect health problems before there are any signs or symptoms. If health problems are caught early, they are more likely to respond to treatment—which can lead to a longer, healthier life free of disease-burden.
Improve Your Overall Health
Based on the results of any tests and screenings, your provider may recommend ways to maintain or improve your health as part of your Personalized Prevention Plan. For example, bone density scans can provide information to help your provider determine if you would benefit from adding a supplement to your diet or beginning a medication to decrease the risk of bone fractures.
Establish A Strong Provider Relationship
Additionally, the annual wellness visit is a great opportunity to build rapport with your primary care provider—someone who knows you and your health history. Though annual wellness visits are not mandatory, they are a great opportunity to get face-to-face time with your provider so you can tell them what is and isn’t working for you and ask them what they can do about it.
To make the most of your annual wellness visit, you should bring written lists of your current medications, health care providers, and any health questions or concerns you may have. The more a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant knows about your medical history, the better they can evaluate your overall wellness and offer personalized health advice.
If you’ve had Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) for more than one year, you may be eligible for an annual wellness visit at no cost. So don’t delay! Call your primary care provider today to schedule your annual wellness visit.
If you are searching for a primary care provider, the St. Clair Medical Group network includes a wealth of experienced, board-certified primary care providers at locations across the region so you never have to go far for Expert care from people who care. Please call 412.942.4000 or visit physicians.stclair.org/primary-care to find a primary care provider within the St. Clair Medical Group network.