What is a physical exam?
A regular physical exam is an important part of your overall health and wellness program. Usually done on an annual basis, this exam serves a number of purposes. At a wellness exam, your doctor can:
- Detect disease early on
- Identify risks you may have for common health problems
- Update your health history
- Monitor your medications and make changes as needed
- Encourage healthy habits
- Build trust by forming a relationship with you
- Help you be in compliance with your job, sport, or insurance company
During a regular exam, your doctor takes time to discuss any changes in your health, answer any questions you may have, and perform a thorough physical assessment.
What does a physical assessment entail?
A vital part of your annual exam is your physical assessment, where your doctor checks the status of all your body systems.
- Checking blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature
- Recording your height and weight
- Listening to your lungs, stomach, and heart
- Looking in your mouth, eyes, and ears
- Assessing your overall appearance
- Assessing your skin for lesions or wounds
- Assessing your mobility, sensation, and neurological status
Your doctor may include lab work, an EKG, or other diagnostic studies to explore any concerning symptoms or assess your risk factors for heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.
What is unique about a DOT exam?
A Department of Transportation (DOT) exam is a specialized exam required for those working in jobs that are considered “safety sensitive” or that could place you or other people in danger.
In order to be compliant with federal regulations, a DOT physical uses a strict set of guidelines and must be completed by a certified medical examiner every 24 months.
An important part of this exam is its mandated reporting and collection of up-to-date health information. Your medical team is knowledgeable and experienced at this highly regulated process and can take care of the paperwork for you.
What is an Annual Wellness Visit?
An Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is a mandated health assessment required by Medicare for patients who use Medicare plans, including the Medicare Advantage Plan. This exam is for the purpose of collecting information that establishes your overall state of health, rather than physical examination or specific interventions.
Your doctor collects and appropriately reports information such as:
- Health history and identified health problems
- Health risk factors
- Intervention plan
- Current health care providers
- Cognitive impairment detection
- Vital signs, height and weight, and body mass index
- End-of-life planning
- Health counseling
- Preventive care screening schedule
While your doctor may order or plan interventions — such as blood work, mammograms, or other testing — these are not covered as part of the AWV. As part of your wellness visit, you’re asked to fill out a number of forms that will help with proper reporting.
For a physical exam, DOT exam, or an AWV, call the office or book an appointment online with Cullman Internal Medicine today.