Monday, July 7, 2008

Executive Physicals - Not Worth Your Money

FORTUNE recently published an article about executive physicals. These are where companies have sent their top executives to get health screenings done by prestigious institutions like Mayo Clinic and Stanford. If you get a free "executive physical", then you should take it, but let's not fool ourselves, it isn't "the Best Checkup You'll Ever Get" (Fortune June 23,2008). While some tests are cool and interesting, i.e. pulmonary function tests and ankle-brachial index, they provide no additional value to patients who have no symptoms. The vast majority of tests offered are the standard of care. The challenge is as patients we need to demand them because they are routinely offered in this country only 55 percent of the time (including the ultrasound to scan for an abdominal aortic aneurysm for men over age 65 who have ever smoked).

For thousands less, you can get the same care, if you have time to research what to get and when to get it. Otherwise if we don't have the time or the expertise, we outsource whether hiring a financial advisor or having an executive physical.

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