How to Plan Your Healthy Year: Annual Well Visits

Get 2018 off to a healthy start. Schedule the most important appointment of the year, your annual well visit with your primary care physician. Although that isn’t the first appointment you may think to make, you are probably making health and wellness goals for the year ahead, so it makes sense to include your doctor in that discussion.

Heidi Sharp, MD, Family Medicine physician with St. Elizabeth Physicians says, “Your annual well visit allows you to have a discussion with your doctor about changes in your health and preventive care or screenings that may be appropriate.”

During your annual well visit, you and your doctor will discuss how to improve your health and prevent disease. You should also discuss:

  • Family history changes.
  • Health updates.
  • Current medications.
  • Changes in chronic conditions.
  • Care you received from other physicians.
  • Upcoming procedures.
  • Immunizations.
  • Needed health prevention screenings or blood work.

Dr. Sharp recommends that you keep a list of your health questions and bring it with you to your well visit with your primary care doctor. Other items Dr. Sharp recommends bringing to your well visit:

  • List of medications or your medication bottles.
  • Medical records from any visits you have had with physicians outside of your primary care physician network.
  • Immunization records if you are a new patient.
  • A pen and notebook to take notes.

Your Primary Care Doctor Helps You Stay on Track
If you haven’t seen your doctor in over two years, you shouldn’t let another year go by without scheduling an appointment. If you don’t have a primary care provider, a get-acquainted physical exam can establish a doctor-patient relationship in case you do get sick. You may feel fine today and think you don’t need an exam every year, but it’s important to maintain a relationship with your physician, especially after age 50.

Dr. Sharp understands the importance of the relationship between a patient and their physician. “You should choose a physician that you feel comfortable with. Everyone values different things in a relationship. Find a doctor who you trust to help you on your healthcare journey.” She added, “having a good relationship also helps increase compliance with the health goals you create, you know there is someone in your corner that wants you to be and stay healthy.”

If you need to schedule your annual well visit, talk to your primary care physician. If you need help finding a primary care physician, please call (800) 737-7900.