Submitted by Heart of Wellness
With a few months of 2021 firmly in the record books, have you stuck to your resolutions–using the new year as a launching point for your goals to become a healthier version of you? Or have you let things fall by the wayside and are just now reminded about the importance of your health by this very article? If you’ve decided that today is the day to take a proactive approach to healthier living, you have made a great choice, and Dr. Diana Duncan, CEO and Naturopathic Physician at Heart of Wellness couldn’t agree more.
When was the last time you went to the doctor for a Wellness Visit? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone. Research suggests that most adults don’t make the time for preventative health care, with fewer than 10% of adults over the age of 35 regularly taking advantage of preventive health care services.
Proactive Care Versus Reactive Care
Why do you go to the doctor? Chances are you only go to the doctor when you are injured or sick. Maybe you twisted your ankle on a run, or you’ve got a persistent cough that won’t let up. In healthcare, these are known as problem-focused visits. Simply put, you have a problem and you want your doctor to help you fix it. But there is another side to medicine, preventative medicine, and it all starts with Wellness Visits.
Wellness Visits are just like they sound, a check in with your doctor to see how everything is going and identify steps you can take to promote continued or renewed wellness. “Wellness visits give us the opportunity to screen for potential health issues that we don’t typically have time for during problem focused visits,” explains Duncan. By dedicating time to identify small problems that have the potential to become big ones, Wellness Visits allow you and your doctor to take a proactive approach to your health, preventing illnesses before they occur.
Develop a Plan of Action for Healthier Living
You might be saying to yourself, “I know what I need to do to get healthy, and I don’t need a doctor to tell me.” But a Wellness Visit is so much more than that. By taking the time to discuss current health habits in depth, your healthcare provider can offer valuable insight on important issues you may be overlooking, and collaboratively develop a plan that helps you implement those health promoting changes.
Allowing ample time to thoroughly discuss wellness topics is an area where Heart of Wellness really shines. Returning patients are typically scheduled for 45 minute Wellness Visits. And no, that isn’t 40 minutes sitting in an exam room by yourself and five minutes with a provider rushing in and out before you can even ask a question. Most patients spend around 40 minutes face to face with their doctor during these visits. This time allows patients and their doctor to truly collaborate and formulate an effective plan that will make the biggest impact over the long term. “Our physicians are wonderful at pinpointing good starting places for making positive changes,” says Duncan. “Small achievable goals make a huge difference,” she adds.
Most of us just need a little support, a little nudge to get us going or get us back on track. Having the support from your doctor can make a world of difference in how well those health promoting changes stick.
When is the Best Time to Schedule a Wellness Visit?
“Any day is a good day to make a change,” says Duncan. Getting into the habit of taking time for yourself and your health is the important part. Patients often like to schedule Wellness Visits around the same time of year so they remember. The new year is a great time to start, especially if your new year’s resolutions include making healthier lifestyle choices. Birthdays are another popular time. But really, the best time to start is right now, while you are thinking about it. Let’s face it, we are all busy. It’s so easy to put ourselves on the back burner, say we will get to it eventually, but more often than not, eventually never comes.
“Wellness visits are usually covered by your insurance plan in full, at least one per year,” says Duncan. Some plans even cover more. That means that you probably won’t have to pay a copay or meet a deductible, but you should check with your insurance provider to verify your benefits.
If you are looking for a physician that can empower you to meet healthier living goals, Heart of Wellness offers free 15-minute visits with any of their clinicians to see if you will be a good fit for each other. Give them a call at 360.570.0401 to schedule an appointment.