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GIM Faculty Publish Landmark Review of the Periodic Health Examination
An article published in the February 20, 2007 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that the Periodic Health Evaluation (PHE) is beneficial and should be part of regular health care. The authors, including the Division's Dr. Ebony Boulware, Dr. Spyridon Marinopoulos, Dr. Eric Bass, Dr. Neil Powe, and Dr. Gail Daumit, reviewed 21 published studies that evaluated the benefits and harms of PHEs on patient health and health care costs, and found that the benefits justify PHE implementation in clinical practice.
The review found that people who had PHEs had more gynecologic examinations and Pap tests, cholesterol screenings and fecal occult blood tests and had less worry than those who had usual care. The available evidence did not reveal harms associated with the PHE, e.g., ordering or receiving inappropriate tests. The definitions of what constitutes an adequate PHE varied among studies reviewed. The authors say that more research is needed to clarify the long-term benefits, harms, and costs of receiving a PHE.