Society of General Internal Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 12, 2013

Don’t perform routine general health checks for asymptomatic adults.

Routine general health checks are office visits between a health professional and a patient exclusively for preventive counseling and screening tests. In contrast to office visits for acute illness, specific evidence-based preventive strategies, or chronic care management such as treatment of high blood pressure, regularly scheduled general health checks without a specific cause including the “health maintenance” annual visit, have not shown to be effective in reducing morbidity, mortality or hospitalization, while creating a potential for harm from unnecessary testing.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

An ad hoc committee of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) was impaneled, taking advantage of the clinical expertise of members from the existing Clinical Practice and the Evidence-Based Medicine Committees within the Society. Members of the ad hoc committee were then solicited to determine possible topics for consideration. The topics chosen were selected to meet the goals of the Choosing Wisely campaign, utilizing the unique clinical perspective of members of the Society in ambulatory General Medicine as well as hospital-based practice. The final topics were selected by a vote of committee members based on the strength of the existing evidence, the unique standing members of the Society have in addressing the clinical topics selected, as well as contributions the recommendations would make in terms of patient safety, quality and economic impact. The final recommendations were approved by the governing Council of SGIM.

For SGIM’s disclosure and conflict of interest policies, please visit www.sgim.org.

Sources

Krogsboll LT, Jorgensen KJ, Gronhoj Larsen C, Gotzsche PC. General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2012;345:e7191.

Boulware LE, Marinopoulos S, Phillips KA, Hwang CW, Maynor K, Merenstein D, Wilson RF, Barnes GJ, Bass EB, Powe NR, Daumit GL. Systematic review: the value of the periodic health evaluation. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Feb 20;146(4):289-300.

United States Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to clinical preventative services: an assessment of the effectiveness of 169 interventions. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1989.

Candian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. The periodic health examination. CMAJ. 1979;121(9):1193-254.