ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMINATION
The Annual Physical Exam is a form of benchmarking. It allows the doctor and patient to review all the pertinent aspects of your health history and physical exam and use the data to coordinate a care plan for you which is personalized. It is an essential part of the development and continuation of the doctor patient relationship.
Annual Physical Examination may be provided under health insurance cover, required of new insurance customers, or stipulated as a condition of employment. In the United States, physicals are also marketed to patients as a one-stop health review, avoiding the inconvenience of attending multiple appointments with different healthcare providers. Comprehensive physical exams of this type are also known as executive physicals, and typically include laboratory tests, chest x-rays, pulmonary function testing, audiograms, full body CAT scanning, EKGs, heart stress tests, vascular age tests, urinalysis, and mammograms or prostate exams depending on gender. The executive physical format was developed from the 1970s by the Mayo Clinic and is now offered by other health providers, including Johns Hopkins Universit, EliteHealth and Mount Sinai in New York City.
While elective physical exams have become more elaborate, in routine use physical exams have become less complete. This has led to editorials in medical journals about the importance of an adequate physical examination. In addition to the possibility of identifying signs of illness, it has been described as a ritual that plays a significant role in the doctor-patient relationship. Physicians at Stanford University medical school have introduced a set of 25 key physical examination skills that were felt to be useful.