The Government of Ontario has determined that the previous Annual Physical Examination as a screening tool for healthy persons did not reduce deaths from cancer or heart disease, but could add to stress levels. The Government also believes that over-testing was wasteful. For example, fasting blood sugars, cholesterol levels, thyroid testing and EKGs do not have to be done on every patient, every year. Testing must be personalized.
A wellness check is a not comprehensive exam to look for multiple problems but rather it is a chance for the doctor to review the patients file. The personal health visit is for healthy patients who have no apparent medical problems. The physician and patient can use the appointment to discuss prevention like screening for cancer and other health issues relevant to the individual patient’s medical history and lifestyle.
In addition, any examination required can be focused on the individual needs of the patient relevant to their risk profile depending on their age, sex, and health history. A wellness check is for healthy people and it is for the doctor to review screening tests and immunizations.
Therefore, the new exam is NOT A COMPLETE PHYSICAL EXAM, but rather an "intermediate exam" with preventative care issues being addressed (need for mammograms, bone density, colonoscopy, Pap tests, vaccinations, and screening blood tests). The time allotted is therefore reduced (and the fee to the doctor is correspondingly reduced).
The difference between a wellness exam and a problem-oriented visit is the latter visit is used to diagnose a current health problem. A wellness exam is used to diagnose a problem in its early stage, or to prevent a disease.
The problem visits are done by request of the patient because they have some type of health issues and want to find out the cause. For instance, if you want to have a test because you are having certain problems, that is diagnostic care. If your doctor wants you to do a specific test due to your family history, that is preventive care.