Fundamentally, this blog post suggests, the annual physical hasn’t been changed in a century, and is in need of an overhaul.
In considering changes, however, he recommends that we make sure not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. At its core, the annual physical examination represents the opportunity for the physician to lay her hands on the patient, helping to seal the bond of trust between the two. This functionality needs to remain.
Sure, certain technologies can be improved. The old-fashioned stethoscope, for example, could well be replaced by already available technologies that use microphones and software to not only to listen, but also to diagnose specific abnormalities.
Ah, technology. Combining the two points above, the blogger wants us to make sure that technological advances don’t simply add another computer screen that gets in the way between physician and patient. Rather, advances in technology should be organized so as to provide a unified picture of the patient, rather than a gazillion fragmented views.
Bottom Line. All of this makes a lot of sense. Reconsidering how the valuable time dedicated to the annual physical examination is allocated seems like a good idea, AS LONG AS any changes that result are for the holistic benefit of the physician/patient dyad, and are not simply applications of new technology for technology sake.