Annual Check-Up

How do I get ready for my annual medical check-up?

If this is your first visit to your health care provider, plan on getting there 15 minutes early, and bring with you:

  • A copy of your immunizations
  • A list of medications you take
  • Your health insurance card
  • Co-payment (if required)

What happens when I get there?

When you arrive at the office, you’ll check in at the front desk, and probably be asked to fill out a health form. If it’s your first visit, you’ll need to show your health insurance card. A clinical assistant will then check your pulse, blood pressure, height and weight, and ask for a urine sample. Urine can be tested for signs of infection as well as to see how well your kidneys are functioning; it’s not a drug test.

What about my parent/guardian?

Next, you and your parent/guardian (if they are with you) will be called into the exam room. During this time your health care provider (HCP) will discuss your health history and your family health history. Then the provider will ask your parents to leave the room to ask you a few questions alone, and give you the chance to ask questions without your parent/guardian in the room. At the end of the visit, your parent/guardian may come back to the room.

What about talking to my health care provider alone?

Your HCP will ask your parent/guardian to leave the exam room, so that he or she can talk with you privately. Your provider will ask questions about your life in general. These conversations are confidential, and your HCP will not share the information with your parent/guardian, unless discussed with you first. This will include questions about:

  • Your home
  • Family and friends
  • School and activities
  • Nutrition
  • Safety
  • Cigarettes
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Sexual activity

At any time during the check-up, you should feel free to ask your HCP questions. If you’re worried that you might forget what you wanted to ask, you can write the questions down on a piece of paper beforehand.

What about the physical part of the check-up?

The physical exam part of the check-up will take only a few minutes. Your provider will examine your:

  • Ears
  • Mouth
  • Neck
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Stomach
  • Joints
  • Spine
  • Muscles
  • Skin
  • Penis and testicles

A genital exam is very important and is nothing to feel embarrassed about.

What about my privacy?

Your medical privacy is important. When you come for your visit, your provider will talk about their confidentiality policy with you and your parent/guardian. Every region has its own regulations about teens and medical privacy. In the state of Massachusetts, general medical information such as colds, the flu, or broken bones, as well as concerns about your safety are shared with your parent/guardian if you’re under the age of 18. Issues about sexual health, HIV, and STIs will be kept confidential.

How does the check-up finish?

After the check-up is over, your HCP will discuss:

  • Your physical exam
  • What you can do to keep yourself healthy
  • Blood tests and/or immunizations (shots) you might need

If you need a physical form for school or sports, ask your HCP at the time of the appointment. Your HCP will tell you when you should return for another appointment.

Remember, your health and your issues are important. Feel free to ask any questions you may have at any time during your check-up.

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