Society of General Internal Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released September 12, 2013; Revised January 31, 2017; Revised November 30, 2022

Don’t perform routine annual checkups unless patients are likely to benefit; the frequency of checkups should be based on individual risk factors and preferences. During checkups, don’t conduct comprehensive physical exams or routine lab testing.

Patients who are likely to benefit from annual checkups include those who are overdue for recommended preventive care, at high risk of undiagnosed chronic illness, rarely see their primary care physician, have low self-rated health, or have a high degree of worry. Patients from historically excluded or marginalized groups, such as racial and ethnic minoritized groups and those with low income, are at increased risk of many health problems and are more likely to benefit from checkups. Patients who do not meet any of these criteria probably do not need a checkup every year and should talk with their doctor about how often checkups should occur. For asymptomatic patients, beyond blood pressure measurement, body mass index (BMI) assessment, and cervical cancer screening for women, a regular screening physical examination has not been shown to improve health. For laboratory testing, current recommendations for patients with previously normal results range from every 3 to 5 years for common tests such as blood glucose and lipid levels.


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 Clinical Practice Committee and Evidence-Based Medicine Task Force 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.

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