Doctor visits support wellness goals

The beginning of the year often brings with it renewed commitments to health-related goals, so now, a few months into the New Year, it’s a good time for people to make an appointment with a primary care provider as a part of their overall wellness plan.

Wellness appointments are an important way for patients to talk with providers about health concerns, to stay up-to-date on needed medications and for providers to discuss with patients the importance of preventive medicine and healthy lifestyles.

“We want to talk about the things they can do to help prevent health problems,” said Dr. Steven Rasmussen, a family medicine physician at ThedaCare Physicians-Ripon. “An important one is making sure that people are up-to-date with their screenings to help with early detection of significant diseases.”

Making a wellness appointment early in the year is a smart idea in case any other diagnostics or follow-up care is needed. In general, a once-a-year wellness appointment is all most generally healthy people need, Dr. Rasmussen said. During the appointment, providers will discuss with patients whether any follow-up appointments are required.

“Sometimes patients have questions about medications, new symptoms or health concerns, and the wellness appointments are a good opportunity to answer those questions,” Dr. Rasmussen said.

While the appointments can take time out of an otherwise busy day, keeping regularly scheduled visits with primary care providers is an important component of wellness. These visits also help keep continuity and build relationships with providers.

“When someone comes in with a health complaint, it is really helpful for us as doctors to provide care when we know that person and have a good context for their health background,” Rasmussen said.