Choosing Wisely:

Don’t perform routine general health checks for asymptomatic adults.

Rationale and Comments: Routine general health checks are office visits between a health professional and a patient exclusively for preventive counseling and screening tests. In contrast to office visits for acute illness, specific evidence-based preventive strategies, or chronic care management such as treatment of high blood pressure, regularly scheduled general health checks without a specific cause including the “health maintenance” annual visit, have not shown to be effective in reducing morbidity, mortality or hospitalization, while creating a potential for harm from unnecessary testing.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • Society of General Internal Medicine
  • Sources:
  • Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
  • Disciplines:
  • Preventive Medicine
  • References: • Krogsboll LT, Jorgensen KJ, Gronhoj Larsen C, Gotzsche PC. General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012;345:e7191.
    • Boulware LE, Marinopoulos S, Phillips KA, Hwang CW, Maynor K, Merenstein D, Wilson RF, Barnes GJ, Bass EB, Powe NR, Daumit GL. Systematic review: the value of the periodic health evaluation. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Feb 20;146(4):289-300.
    • United States Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to clinical preventative services: an assessment of the effectiveness of 169 interventions. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1989.
    • Candian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. The periodic health examination. CMAJ. 1979;121(9):1193-254.

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