Do you need an "annual physical"?

For employed persons in Japan, this is often a moot question, as employers must, by law, complete basic annual checkups on employees annually. 

For all others, however, this can be a more difficult question to answer than it first appears.

The value of routine annual checkups has been debated for years, but the recent consensus is that it does not offer significant benefits in terms of reducing hospitalizations, costs, or deaths. Potential harms also need to be considered, as no test is perfect and "false positive" results may occur. This can lead to further unnecessary tests and/or treatment, which may expose the person to additional risks. The opposite is also true, in that it may give people a false sense of security that they are perfectly "healthy" as all the results were normal. 

We don't think it is necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water, and believe that tailoring examinations to each individual's potential risks is the most reasonable approach. We are happy to discuss your needs and concerns and recommend specific screening tests as appropriate, but for most otherwise healthy people, there are very few tests that are recommended on a regular basis. 

We encourage you to contact us and to explore some of the links above to assist you in making informed decisions about routine checkups.