Question special
Lead Moderator

Many iterations of this particular concern can be found in comment threads and editorials discussing the question of the Annual Physical/Periodic Health Exam. In its distilled form, the worry appears to be that elimination of the physical will lead to a drop in preventive and/or asymptomatic care, leading to an increased number of patients seeing their PCP only after conditions have progressed to a point of some urgency. In many ways this is an extension of a longer-running popular criticism of the US healthcare system, which argues that elimination of the physical further exacerbates a system which historically focuses on "sick care" rather than "health care".

Certainly, neither article advocates for such a model of primary care. Nonetheless, given the prevalence of this concern, let's address it directly: is there merit to this worry? Might the primary care profession risk an element of its identity by scrapping the time-honored Physical? Or are such concerns overblown?