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An ounce of prevention can equal a pound of cure
A man gets his blood pressure checked by a female doctor

Taking time for a preventive health exam each year can have far-reaching benefits, with no out-of-pocket costs for employees on an Emory medical plan.

It may be a cliché, but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure when it comes to an annual preventive exam.

An annual preventive exam identifies potential health issues in the early stages when they may be easier and less costly to treat. Early detection of medical problems, illnesses and diseases helps your doctor provide proactive care and treatment. Your primary care provider also can help you coordinate which tests and vaccinations are right for you.

The exam generally includes:

  • Checks of vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure
  • Heart and lung exams
  • Head, neck and abdominal exams
  • Muscle strength, balance and reflex checks

Pamela Briggs, service-line manager in Emory’s Diagnostic Treatment Center, has learned the value in making time for an annual preventive exam and following the advice of her providers.

Briggs has had high cholesterol levels for many years. After her annual preventive exam, she began taking medications prescribed by her physician assistant (PA). She also began drinking more water and reducing some of her stressors. Making these changes helped Briggs lower her cholesterol level by more than 100 points.

“Being able to discuss concerns with my provider and knowing that someone is an advocate to help you stay healthy is really a gift,” Briggs says. “I have to give a huge shout-out to my PA, Heather Prusik. She is amazing and really does want the best healthy outcomes for her patients.”

Emory family medicine physician Tina-Ann Thompson says, “The annual preventive exam is a time to review the health concerns that have come up over the last year. It is a time to be sure that immunizations, routine health screenings and physical and mental health concerns are addressed. It is best to find out if there have been any changes in family history because certain routine screenings need to be done earlier if there is a family history. It needs to be annual because recommendations change, our bodies change and early detection of illnesses is best.”

Brandi Merrill, a nurse scholar at Emory University Hospital Midtown GI Endoscopy Lab, also sings the praises of her primary care physician (PCP), saying, “I appreciate my PCP because he explains each part of my exam, reviews my medications, asks me questions and ensures my understanding. I trust his knowledge and judgment. Having a primary care doctor is important, but also being knowledgeable about your own health and wellness is critical to one’s quality of life.”

Employees on an Emory medical plan have no out-of-pocket cost for an annual preventive exam.

Visit Emory’s webpage on preventive exams to learn more, including how to find a doctor based on your medical plan.

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