Life can feel overwhelming with work, personal, business, and social relationships to manage. Over time, the stress of everyday life leads to a host of medical issues. So how can millions of Americans stay healthy while handling life’s challenges? A wellness visit is a great place to start.
What’s a wellness visit?
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. An Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), covered by Medicare, believes the same. Each year, doctors and patients can get together to plan and execute a medical strategy. The goal is to stay disease-free, out of the ER, and to help reach health goals.
Wellness visits are grossly underused. As of 2017, less than 20% of those qualified had an Annual Wellness Visit.
Isn’t a Wellness visit a Physical?
The two visits are quite different. A physical exam is an assessment of what’s happening right now. A rigorous account of vitals, reflexes, lung exams, head assessments and so on. Some medical practicioners even need a blood or urine sample. Physicals are often for a specific purpose, for example, a new job.
Short-term vs. Long-Term
A wellness visit covers potential risks and the future health of the patient. In fact, patients can even go untouched. The doctor screens medical data and discussions take place on the potential for diseases. Then comes an action plan. Think of a wellness visit as a long-term preventative strategy. Also, Medicare may not cover an annual physical but will cover an AWV.
What happens during a wellness visit?
First, doctors provide a Health Risk Assessment or similar questionnaire. The questionnaire requires detailed information on current medications and vitamins, for example. Also note past medical history, diseases, family history, and previous visits. Physicians recommend patients be thorough and honest to get the best advice.
During the visit
In the actual visit, the doctor reviews the assessment and asks questions related to the data presented. These questions cover lifestlye, current or past stresses or trauma. Next comes simple measurements like height, weight and blood pressure. Finally, signs of future issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s. The doctor keeps all data on a running file.
Creating a plan
The next step is to put a strategy in place to keep patients healthy and achieve health goals. Doctors often create a 5–10-year plan to treat current issues and circumvent risks for future illness. All the time keeping in mind the health goals outlined prior. The physician may then recommend another specialist or screenings to get the ball rolling.
You’re the CEO of your body
A wellness visit is akin to hiring a team to manage the body’s performance and success. During a wellness visit, ask questions and be clear on any health goals. Doctors recommend patients follow the plan set out and to be consistent with visits. An AWV keeps Americans out of the hospital and intercept any potential diseases.