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Acknowledgment: The authors thank the patient for sharing her story.
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Editors' Disclosures: Christine Laine, MD, MPH, Editor in Chief, reports that she has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Darren B. Taichman, MD, PhD, Executive Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Cynthia D. Mulrow, MD, MSc, Senior Deputy Editor, reports that she has no relationships or interests to disclose. Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, Deputy Editor, reports that she has no financial relationships or interest to disclose. Jaya K. Rao, MD, MHS, Deputy Editor, reports that she has stock holdings/options in Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Sankey V. Williams, MD, Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Catharine B. Stack, PhD, MS, Deputy Editor for Statistics, reports that she has stock holdings in Pfizer.
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Physicians and patients have come to expect that periodic health examinations (PHEs) are a standard part of comprehensive ongoing medical care. However, considerable research has not demonstrated a substantial benefit of the PHE. Given this lack of benefit and the high total cost of PHE to the health care system, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation and the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) have identified “routine health checks in asymptomatic patients” as something of low value that physicians and patients should question, as a part of the Choosing Wisely campaign. Two discussants review the debate about PHE and consider the value of PHE for a healthy 70-year-old woman who appreciates seeing her physician annually.
Forest plot showing the effect of general health checks on total mortality.
Reproduced from From Krogsbøll LT, Jørgensen KJ, Larsen CG, Gøtzsche PC. General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012;345:e7191.
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