An Annual Exam in Our Direct Primary Care Practice

Annual physical

An annual exam is one of the most common–and most important–services that primary care physicians provide. In fact, when you think of “primary care” an annual wellness visit is probably the first thing you picture! During this routine appointment, your primary care physician will assess your health, address any chronic or lingering issues, and help you move a little further on your wellness journey.

But here’s the thing: an annual exam at a direct primary care practice ends up looking a lot different than one performed at a traditional primary care practice. These differences are both quantitative and qualitative, especially at Progressive Health Primary Care. When you see your physician here, you’ll experience a thorough and comprehensive visit, as well as an exam that isn’t rushed or cursory. 

That way, your physician will have a more accurate–and more helpful–picture of your overall health.

How Long Do Annual Exams Take?

If you’ve ever been to visit a traditional primary care physician, you have some experience with a typical annual exam. In most cases, these exams by traditional physicians are over very quickly: they talk briefly about changes in your health over the past year, do a fast evaluation, and maybe order some blood work or other routine screenings. The overall experience lasts an average 7-15 minutes at a traditional practice.

That’s not very much time to get to know a patient (especially when you see them only once a year). But such short visits are standard practice at traditional clinics because physicians must see a huge number of patients every day. That’s not the case at Progressive Health Primary Care, where the direct primary care model means we can see fewer patients–and you get more time with your doctor.

Here’s What Happens During Your Annual Exam With Us

So what happens during your exam at Progressive Health? The first thing to know is that our annual exams last about 90 minutes. This is true for every patient every year, whether new to our practice or a long time patient. That gives your physician more time to truly understand your health, your needs, and your journey.

During an annual exam, here’s what you can look forward to:

  1. A Comprehensive Exam

During your comprehensive exam at Progressive Health, your doctor will:

  • Review your vitals, such as blood pressure, weight, height, and so on.
  • Discuss aches and pains you might be having.
  • Discuss mental health concerns you might be having.
  • Perform a thorough physical examination.
  • Offer women’s health and men’s health screenings and solutions, based on the needs you may have.

Your physician will perform a thorough physical examination of your body, focusing especially on any areas of concern or discomfort. Even if you’re perfectly healthy, all of this information will be very useful in establishing baselines that any future exams can be measured against.

     2. Checking Your Heart Health

At Progressive Health, an EKG diagnostic is a routine part of annual exams for all patients over 40. This can give your physician a much better picture of your overall cardiac health–and catch some problems before they start causing noticeable symptoms. Indeed, the doctor here at Progressive Health has been able to identify and find treatment for several asymptomatic patients in this way.

If any problems are detected, you and your doctor can discuss referrals to specialists or tailored treatment. It’s important to point out that EKGs are not a matter of routine testing for most traditional primary care physicians. We perform them here because finding these problems early is often critical to a positive outcome. Additionally, our routine blood screening includes more than most traditional screenings, including cardiac markers if they’re indicated.

      3. Discussing Your Daily Life

During your exam, you’ll also have a detailed discussion with your doctor about important aspects of your daily life–after all, nothing impacts your overall wellness more than what you do every day. These discussions will cover:

  • Your sleep habits: Sleep can be critical to your physical, emotional, and mental health. So your physician will help ensure you’re getting a healthy amount of sleep every night.
  • Work stress: Over a long enough period of time, a stress response can cause health concerns. Your physician will help you manage, mitigate, and diminish work stress.
  • Family dynamics: Often, there may be things about the family that are holding back your wellness. Your doctor will recommend solutions.
  • Your daily routines: You’ll discuss what an average or typical day looks like–and how small changes to your routine could improve your wellness.
  • Diet and nutrition: These conversations will go into detail. You and your physician will develop diet and nutrition plans that work for you and your body.
  • Exercise information: Your physician will discuss what type of activity you like, what you don’t like, how often you exercise, and so on. We get into the granular–so you can get advice that works for you, your body, and your situation.

We Believe in Being Thorough

We believe that primary care is supposed to be thorough. That’s what it takes to spot more problems early–often when they’re still small and easy to manage. To get this kind of thoroughness at a traditional practice, you would likely need to make multiple appointments–probably over the course of weeks or months. You would also need to take the initiative with your physician–asking them unprompted to perform certain tests or diagnostics.

Our ability to conduct a very thorough annual exam in just one appointment means you’ll have the chance to enjoy some peace of mind. You will have a much better picture of your overall health, you’ll know how to improve your wellness, and you’ll know you have a primary care resource to help you along the way.

Want to see what a thorough annual exam looks like in a direct primary care setting? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.