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Physicals

Physicals, Checkups, Annual Exams and Wellness Visits

Physicals, Checkups, Annual Exams and Wellness Visits and are all terms often used interchangeably, but they actually have different definitions or requirements depending on your age and/or your insurance carrier/policy.

To clear up any confusion, we will briefly define each:

Physicals are more involved examinations which focus more on your overall health and health goals, and many of the services are not covered by insurance. Beyond taking routine measurements, physicals typically involve examinations of the head, neck, heart, lungs, and abdomen, and the physician may suggest blood and/or urine tests. These types of exams may be required for students to participate in sports.

Checkups are short visits related to an illness, injury or other condition, as well as things such as new medications. For example, your physician may prescribe you medication for an illness and request that you come back in two weeks for a quick checkup. Or you may have an injury that’s not serious, but your physician may want you to come back for a checkup in a few days or a week just to make sure that you are healing properly.

Annual exams and wellness visits are typically short examinations that focus on elements of preventative care, and they are usually fully covered by most insurance companies and Medicare. Types of wellness visits include well-woman exams, well-child visits, and Medicare annual wellness visits.



Checkups Well-Child Visit Geriatric Annual Wellness Visits Sports Physicals

Why Physicals are so Important

Physicals are a vital component of whole-person wellness designed to help detect health issues before they become a problem. These exams are more in-depth that annual exams and wellness visits, which are typically covered by insurance.

Many people choose to get additional physicals for a variety of reasons, such as youth participating in school sports, weekend warriors, and other adults who are interested in competing or want to raise their level of fitness but feel the need to get the all-clear from a physician before they begin. These visits give your provider and Southwest Care Center the ability to review your overall health with you, and if you wish, create health goals that you can work toward with our help and support.

Whatever you envision as your healthiest, happiest self, we would like to help you achieve it. By receiving annual health services, screenings, and treatments, and letting your provider know your health priorities, you are taking steps that improve your chances for achieving your goals.

Factors such as your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e., diet, activity levels, whether you smoke, etc.) and other important factors impact why and how often you need to visit your primary care provider. We are happy to create a plan for visits that is customized to your needs.

Schedule an appointment with Southwest Care Center today to discuss what visits would benefit you most.

Establishing a Relationship with Your Doctor/Care Provider

At Southwest Care Center, we are about giving people the time and attention of our physicians to ensure that their needs are met. Although we may not be able to address each and every concern in a single visit, our skilled clinicians always prioritize the issues that worry you most and will provide close follow up to ensure all of your concerns will ultimately be addressed in a timely manner.

We know that healthcare is not a one-size-fits-all activity. Our customized, relationship-based approach not only makes patients happy, it serves several important purposes, including:

It takes time to establish an ongoing relationship and trust with your clinician. Though you may be referred to specialists for specific issues, your primary care provider sees you over a longer period of time. They also see you when you are both healthy and when you are sick, which is essential for establishing physical and emotional health baselines which can inform later medical decisions or help the provider spot a possible developing illness or disease. In addition, confidential issues such as drug use/abuse, domestic violence, depression, stress, etc. (which can be extremely detrimental to your health) are easier to bring up and discuss with someone who you know and trust.

Complete medical records and history. Not everyone keeps a record of every doctor’s visit, test or immunization they’ve received. Fortunately, Southwest Care Center will keep records of your visits and can to provide them to you when you need them. Because we have your records in our system, we can remind you when you need things such as a tetanus booster, diagnostic test, blood test, or other screenings/immunizations.

Personalized healthcare for all of our patients. Primary care providers are trained to evaluate the whole patient, which is different from a specialist who is trained in a specific system of the body. Because of this, they are able to get a thorough feel for your overall health. By understanding the big picture of your health, they can evaluate your personal risk factors for certain diseases, illnesses and other conditions and help you take steps to change your lifestyle to minimize your personal risk. Being seen by a primary care provider at least yearly can provide opportunities for your physician to take stock of how well you’re progressing toward your health goals, as well as the opportunity to review any medications you may be taking, both prescribed and over the counter, and make sure that they do not need adjustment.

What To Expect At Your Southwest Care Center Visit for a Physical

Physicals are very common, and we do them every day at all of our clinics. With that said, we know visiting the doctor can come with some anxiety, or at least some questions about what a patient can expect during their visits. We want all patients to feel as comfortable as possible while they are a guest at our clinics.

When you come to a Southwest Care Center clinic, you will first be asked to fill out some paperwork. This can take some extra time but is necessary for us to have the information we need to best serve you. We are very successful at keeping our wait times short and rank in the top 95% of other medical clinics on this measure. Once it is time for your visit, a nurse or medical assistant will call you back to one of our exam rooms, where they will ask you questions and record your height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. They will then let your provider know you are ready. Once your provider comes to see you, he or she will review your medical record, including responses you made to questions already asked. They will then perform the physical exam, recommending and performing various tests, depending on your needs.

At the end of your visit, don’t forget to request to sign up for our new patient portal. This portal will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to getting information from your provider and will allow you to receive your labs results and pay your bill online.

How Can You Prepare for Your Next Physical?

So, you’ve made the appointment to come see a physician at Southwest Care Center, you’ve read the instructions on how to prepare for certain tests, and you’ve completed the paperwork – you’re ready, right? Not quite.

Before your next visit, make sure you do the following to get the most out of your appointment:

Bring all your medications to your visit so your doctor can help you determine if you should be taking each of them. It is important for your provider to know all of the medications you are taking. If you prefer to make a list be sure to carefully document the correct names (many drugs have very similar names) and dosages to aid your provider in their review.

Carefully take stock of your family health history. Take stock of any new conditions or diseases that have occurred in your close relatives since your last visit and let your healthcare provider know. Your family history can have a major influence on your risk for developing certain conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer. Your doctor will assess your risk of disease based on a number of factors including your family medical history. He or she may also recommend things you can do to help prevent disease, such as exercising more, changing your diet, or using screening tests to help detect certain disease early.

Jot down a list of health-related questions and concerns to bring with you to your appointment. If you have any changes in your health conditions, try to note when any change began, how they might different from before, and any other observations that you think might be helpful. Be sure to write your questions down beforehand. Once you’re in the office or exam room, it can be hard to remember everything you wanted to know. Please know that there are some restrictions for providers around what each medical visit can be used for. We want to know what your health concerns are, and if you have multiple or very complex health needs, multiple visits may be required.

Consider Your Future

Be honest with your doctor. If you haven’t been taking your medication exactly as directed or exercising as much – or anything else – bring it up. You may be at risk for certain diseases and conditions because of how you live, work, and play. The physicians, nurses and other clinicians at Southwest Care Center develop personalized plans based in part on what you tell us. Help us ensure that you are getting the best advice and treatment by providing the most up-to-date and accurate information about yourself and your family.

Take the time to ask questions about the things that concern you and your future, such as losing weight, trying to have a baby, quitting smoking, getting treatment for an addiction, etc. Bring these issues up and discuss them with your doctor during your exam, this will allow you and your doctor to make better decisions concerning your health and safety in the future.

What are you risking by not being on the same page with your primary care doctor? Let us show you the difference we can make. Call today to be thoughtfully paired with one of our doctors.