The annual health check is useless

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Most general practitioners have already adapted their practice and are less involved in periodic medical examinations.

A new study confirms it: the annual medical examination is unnecessary and does not improve the health. In order to discourage the general practitioners continue to offer it to their patients, this act has also been abolished in 2016, and its equivalent is now less profitable for doctors.


This time, it is the canadian task force on preventive health care, in an article published in The canadian family physician, calls for the abandonment of the annual health check given that it “does not result in better health outcomes,” and that it may “lead to overdiagnosis” and ” medical interventions are unnecessary and can even harm the patient.”


“There’s no formal policy saying that they should or should not conduct annual assessments. But historically, culturally and traditionally, many patients believe that they must conduct a health check every year, and several doctors also think that it is a good idea. Yet, studies show that such a practice does not improve the health of the people, and that it would be much more effective if the patients consulted with the doctor only for a particular reason, for example if they are sick, if they suffer from a chronic disease, like diabetes, which requires monitoring, or if they have reached an age at which one proceeds to screening, prevention, ” says Brett Thombs, McGill University, who heads the study group of the canadian.


But the annual medical examination is not prevention ? “We focus on prevention measures that work and that have been the subject of studies that have shown that they helped the patients,” says Dr. Thombs, before giving examples that have proven successful, such as mammography in women over the age of 50, screening for cancer of the cervix in women and the abdominal aortic aneurysm in men aged 65 to 80 years.


Dr. Thombs also noted that, if the general practitioners were no longer these the annual reviews to be useless, they would be more available to patients who are sick. “Our recommendation is not intended to reduce costs, but rather to use resources more efficiently,” he says.


“We must continue to educate the public,” he added, while recalling the good work done by the campaign, Choose with care, which aims to help clinicians and patients to question the relevance of a treatment.


According to Dr. Louis Godin, president and ceo of the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec (FMOQ), the most general practitioners have adapted their practices to the recommendations formulated in the course of the last few years ranging in the sense of that which is published today by the canadian task force, and they are less involved in periodic medical examinations.


In June 2016, Québec has approved a new classification of acts in the law firm for family physicians. The comprehensive examination major, whose compensation was $ 80, has been abolished. The compensation of its equivalent, the follow-up visit of a patient enrolled, is lowered to only $47.

More it will come out of studies showing that this review is not really necessary, most doctors will be many to implement these recommendations
Dr. Louis Godin, p.-d. g. of the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec

“The more it will come out of studies showing that this review is not really necessary, most doctors will be many to implement these recommendations,” said Dr. Godin. No one pays more at the same height [what was formerly called] the periodic health examination in healthy people in order to put more emphasis on the examinations carried out on people who are ill, or who require a regular follow-up, or who have risk factors well-defined. We made this modification in order to comply with the guidelines that were issued by various learned societies “, he explains.


Dr. Godin adds that his federation has also to agree with the minister of Health so that a visit to the doctor is no longer required to confirm the registration of a patient in good health with a family doctor. “We will not require a visit to the register when it is assigned a doctor. There will be a tour only when this is medically required in order to meet these recommendations. Bring a young person 25 years of age who is in good health, who has no identifiable risk factors and no family history that predisposes to a particular disease, it is to lose time and money to patients and doctors “, he says.

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