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    Health Maintenance Evaluation – Replacing the “Annual Physical”

    Health maintenance and disease prevention are high priorities at Sutter Health. Our Health Maintenance Guidelines Task Force, comprised of primary care physicians, specialists, and health educators, reviews new information and regularly updates our recommendations regarding who needs which screening tests and when. We review controversies as they come up, examining the medical literature and the quality of the published evidence. Sutter Health’s Health Maintenance & Disease Prevention Guidelines summarize the tests and evaluations we recommend for healthy individuals and how often they should be completed.

    One of the most important changes in our recommendations relates to the “annual physical.” A top-to-toe physical examination for someone without symptoms has never been proven to extend life or decrease illness or discomfort.

    A “health maintenance evaluation” includes:

    1. identifying risk factors in one’s personal and family health history
    2. performing a focused exam, as appropriate
    3. obtaining needed screening tests at the right intervals
    4. encouraging people to choose healthy lifestyles to maximize their health.
    This “checkup” can occur during an office visit devoted to health maintenance or may be covered during an office visit for other concerns.

    We encourage our patients to ask questions and take a partnership approach with their providers to maximize their health and obtain the preventive screening tests that really matter.