periodic health examination

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A systematic assessment of apparently healthy individuals that is customarily conducted at specific age epochs, including soon after birth, at weaning, beginning of grade school and secondary school, or at puberty, at the beginning of adult life or military recruitment, before employment, before marriage, during and after pregnancy, around the time of menopause and at about the same age for men, about retirement age, and then more often with advancing years. The questions asked and tests performed are tailored to specific risks associated with age epochs. The concepts and practice of age-appropriate health examinations follow evidence-based guidelines and replace the former “routine physicals” that were often an inefficient and cost-ineffective approach. Although periodic health examinations may reveal evidence of serious disease, their efficacy and cost-effectiveness are matters of debate. Periodic reassessment of patients with known chronic diseases is not usually included in this definition. The current guidelines are at http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx. See also Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health care and Preventive Services Task Force.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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