Wellness Visit vs. Annual Visit: Main Differences to Know

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between wellness and annual visits, you’re in the right place! At first glance, these two types of visits may seem similar, but there are some important differences to note.

However, it is critical to accurately bill patients based on the two distinct types of visits. A physical consists of a full examination and health review, while an Annual Wellness Visit concentrates solely on responses given by the patient during their health risk assessment. Read on for more info about wellness vs. annual visits – to ensure you’re getting the care you need!


Role of Medical Visits in Preventative Health Care

What does a medical visit represent in preventative health care? In short, medical visits are widely used to detect and treat illnesses early on. They also provide an opportunity to assess a patient’s overall wellness. During most office visits, a doctor will conduct a physical examination, review the patient’s medical history and any current medications they may be taking, perform laboratory tests as needed, and answer questions.




What Is a Wellness Visit, and What Does It Cover?

A wellness visit is a preventative healthcare appointment focused on general wellness rather than diagnosing or treating any specific medical concern. This visit is typically recommended once a year, and it’s intended to assess the patient’s overall wellness. During these preventive visits, the patient can complete a comprehensive risk assessment, helping the provider detect potential risks and determine which preventative services should be suggested as part of an individualized protection strategy.


This visit covers the following:

  • Review your health risk assessment (questions you answer about your health).
  • Verify your past medical records and family heritage.
  • Record your current prescriptions and providers.
  • Measure and document your height, weight, and blood pressure.
  • Look for any indicators of memory issues, dementia, or physical decline.
  • Document your health risk factors and treatment options.
  • Provide personalized health advice.
  • Develop a screening schedule (like a checklist) for the recommended preventive services.




What Is an Annual Visit, and What Does It Cover?

An annual visit, sometimes called a “routine physical examination,” is an in-depth review of the patient’s medical history and wellness. This visit ranges from basic checkups for children to more comprehensive wellness assessments for adults, including head-to-toe physical examinations and screenings for conditions like heart disease, cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases.


From head to toe, your doctor will carefully evaluate every aspect of your body during a physical exam. See below for some of the steps they may take during this process:

  • Scan your body for any current health issues, with particular attention to detail regarding visible warning signs.
  • Carefully inspect your eyes, ears, nose, and throat to identify potential issues.
  • Use a stethoscope to listen to your heart and lungs, looking for unusual noises.
  • Apply light pressure to different body parts to look for anything unusual. 
  • Test your motor function and reflexes.
  • Perform pelvic and rectal exams.
  • Measure your height, weight, and blood pressure.


Differences Between Wellness and Annual Visits


Wellness Visit Annual Visit
Medical History X
Physical Exam X
Review of risk factors X
Blood Test and lab test X
Personalized prevention plan X
Medication review X
Address new health problems X


HCRpath Facilitates Your Wellness Journey

As you can see, wellness and annual visits serve two different purposes. Wellness visits allow assessing a patient’s overall wellness and detecting potential health risks early on. Annual visits are more comprehensive, with doctors performing head-to-toe physical examinations and screenings for heart disease, cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases. Understanding the differences between wellness and annual visits is key to getting the right type of care for your needs.

HCRpath can help make these wellness and annual visits easier than ever by connecting seniors, healthcare providers, and caregivers with the necessary preventative care. Get started today and take your wellness journey to the next level!

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