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Routine checkups improve health and well-being for years to come

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“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has long been a popular phrase to encourage healthy eating and living habits. The fact is, staying healthy is more complicated than this simple phrase and regular health checkups are vital for living a healthy and active life.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over half of all medical care in the U.S. is conducted by medical specialists, surgical specialists and in hospital emergency departments.

Many people wait until there is an emergency before they see a doctor, and research has shown that most people often need to be motivated to seek regular health care.

Data increasingly show that areas with higher concentrations of primary health care clinicians have lower-cost, higher-quality health care.

“Primary care medicine is the most critically important care a patient can receive in managing chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma,” said Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, a physician at Wishard Health Services and an associate professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics and faculty member in the Indiana University School of Medicine Division of Adolescent Medicine. “The likelihood that a patient will follow through with treatment recommendations is heavily influenced by the degree of familiarity, trust and the quality of the communication between a patient and his or her primary care physician.”

Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber stressed the importance of going to a physician before there is a problem. She said patients need to set up a yearly exam, even if they feel well. Sort of like taking in your car for its 50,000 mile checkup even if it is running fine.

“This helps to make sure you are on the right track and establishes a relationship with a doctor so that when you do have a problem, we know who you are,” she said.

A primary care physician is the first contact of comprehensive care provided to people with a wide range of health concerns and can encompass various medical specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and other services.

In addition, Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber stressed a primary care physician is vitally important in ensuring that health screenings and preventive measures are up to date. An example of this would include screening for cancers, high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol and heart disease; determining risk factors for diabetes; measuring body mass index (BMI); updating all immunizations; and reviewing the patient’s history for other problems that may affect their health, like sleep and dietary habits, said Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber.

Wishard has established a primary care network consisting of its Primary Care Center and nine Community Health Centers, conveniently located throughout Indianapolis. At these facilities, Wishard offers an array of services including physical exams, prenatal care, social services, dental services and more.

To access these services, the public is encouraged to call Health Connection at Wishard, a telephone call center that operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Registered nurses who have access to a wide variety of up-to-date health care information evaluate people over the phone and connect them to the most appropriate level of care. Health Connection provides physician referrals and matches people with the most appropriate physician based on the patient’s location, language and personal preference.

For more information on the services Wishard provides or to find a primary care physician, call Health Connection at (317) 655-2255.


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