Perhaps you’ve heard of the executive physical, a modified type of annual exam. Instead of spending 15 minutes with your doctor once a year for basic labs and a brief health review, the executive physical offers a full day (or more) of advanced testing, labs, and diagnostic reviews. Marketed to the busy professional who has no time to get sick, executive physicals cost $2,000-$5,000 on average, often up to $10,000 with additional tests — and insurance doesn’t foot most of the bill.
On the surface the executive physical sounds ideal. A whole day with a team of doctors who perform a battery of tests: what could be more useful for your health?
Unfortunately, this one-size-fits-all approach is prone to both over-testing, which adds expense and risk, and under-testing, which misses potentially important conditions.
The most important drawback to the executive physical, we believe, is that by focusing almost exclusively on lab work, it grossly under-emphasizes direct, face-to-face discussion, and glosses over the most crucial part of quality medical care: an ongoing relationship with a personal physician.