an eagle eye view of a golden-yellow stethoscope used for physical exam

What to Expect from a Physical Exam by a Concierge Doctor

Whether you need a physical examination for school, sports, work, or your well-being, you may be wondering what to expect during your appointment. In addition to giving you the run-down about what to expect, we will discuss where to get a physical exam and the benefits of getting one from a concierge house-call doctor.

an eagle eye view of a golden-yellow stethoscope used for physical exam

What is a Physical Exam? 

As its name implies, a physical exam is when a medical professional examines your overall physical well-being and health. These exams should be a part of every adult’s wellness checklist, and it’s a good idea to receive a physical once a year or every two years.

Because physicals are a form of preventive medicine, you don’t have to be sick to schedule one. Many diseases and conditions can start forming in your body before you develop physical symptoms. In some cases, it can be difficult to treat your condition by the time you feel physically ill. By getting a physical exam, your doctor can catch these illnesses and begin treatment pre-emptively.

Different Types of Physical Exams

A female concierge doctor doing a physical exam on a young female patient while her mom is sitting beside herWhat happens during your physical exam depends on your examination type. The different types of physicals vary depending on your reason for getting the examination. For instance, employment and pre-employment physical exams are different than school or sports physicals.

  • Annual physical exam – is a general wellness check that you can schedule on your own with a healthcare provider.
  • Sports physicals – if you or your child is looking to join a sports team for school or professional purposes, you may need a sports physical. Sports physicals are similar to annual physicals but much more in-depth and are performed to determine if you can perform the activities required by your sport.
  • School physicals – depending on the type of school you or your children are planning to attend, you may need to receive a school physical. Physicals for school are not invasive and are designed to screen for health problems and ensure the student meets health requirements as determined by the school or team.
  • DOT physical examDOT physicals are physical examinations specifically for those seeking jobs involving transportation. These are typically required for truckers, bus drivers, and anyone operating heavy machinery.
  • Pre-employment physicals – a pre-employment physical exam is one of the most common types of physicals. They are performed to determine whether you can perform the duties for which you will be responsible.

What does a Physical Exam Involve?

A female concierge doctor doing an in-home physical exam on a female cancer patient that has a pink wrap over her headWhile each type of physical exam is slightly different, they often involve the same procedures. Here is a general run-down of what to expect from a physical exam.

Your doctor will…

  • Check your height and weight.
  • Check your vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, respirations, pulse-ox, and temperature.
  • Ask questions about your current health and how you are feeling.
  • Evaluate your medical and family history to determine if you are at increased risk for any conditions.
  • Review the medications you are currently prescribed.
  • Conduct a visual and physical examination of your body, health, and wellness.
  • Perform various basic tests and treatments and take note of any irregularities. If your doctor notices anything of concern, they may request additional tests and procedures, such as blood draws.
  • Depending on age, a male physical exam could involve inspecting the colon and genitalia. The annual physical exam checklist for female patients might involve checking the pelvis and breasts.

How should I Prepare for a Physical Exam?

A black colored person writing down a list on a white sheet of paper supported on a wooden clipboardPreparing for your physical exam is fairly simple. First, you should make an appointment with a doctor of your choice. Next, gather the necessary paperwork that your doctor will need before and after your exam. This includes the following.

  • A list of currently prescribed medications.
  • A record of any diseases that run in the family.
  • A list of any pain or symptoms.
  • Documents from previous conditions or surgeries.
  • List of allergies.
  • Whether or not you have any implants or prostheses, including defibrillators and pacemakers.

Where to Get a Physical Exam? 

You can get a physical exam from various healthcare providers and professionals. Anyone from your primary care physician (PCP) to an urgent care clinic can administer a physical exam. The advantage of going to your PCP is that, as your family doctor, you may already have a relationship with them.

You can also receive a physical exam from a concierge doctor who will visit your location and perform the exam on-site. It is also possible that your employer has a medical professional on retainer to perform pre-and post-employment physicals.

Why might I Need a Physical Exam? 

An elder businessman looking worried while holding his notepad and listening to his son There are many different reasons why you might need a physical exam. It is a good idea to get a physical exam every three years if you’re under 50, but you should receive an annual exam once you hit 50. You should also see your doctor more frequently if you have or are concerned about developing chronic conditions.

Additionally, many jobs and employers require more frequent physical exams, such as DOT and medical personnel. Depending on the type of exam you are receiving and who requires it, there might also be additional paperwork and procedures. Be sure to check with the doctor performing your exam to ensure you bring everything you need to your appointment.

What is the Cost of a Physical Exam? 

Physical exam costs vary from person to person and doctor to doctor. Your insurance will also play a role in the cost of a physical exam because some insurance plans are more comprehensive than others. One of the biggest things that will drive up the cost of a wellness check is whether or not you get it from your primary care physician or if you go to an urgent care center.

While urgent care centers are great for emergencies and certain situations, they charge a hefty sum for their work. Therefore, you may end up paying much more for an urgent care physical exam than at your PCP or with at-home physical exams.

The Cost Differential between PCPs and Concierge Doctors 

A blonde female concierge doctor doing a check-up on her patient in the patient's homeThe two most affordable ways to get a physical exam is with your PCP or through a concierge doctor. The major difference between these two medical professionals is that PCPs accept most forms of health insurance and concierge doctors do not. Instead, concierge doctors provide physicals as a standalone service or as part of a larger examination in your home, saving you the time and costs of transportation and waiting in a waiting room. In-home exams also help you avoid exposure to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.


Physical examinations should be part of everybody’s medical checklist regardless of age, employment, or financial status. Physicals allow doctors to catch and treat diseases before they cause irreversible damage. Employers, schools may also require physicals, and sports teams to determine your health status.

Regardless of why you need a physical, the best way to get one is with a concierge doctor. Concierge doctors will come to you and administer your physical exam in the comfort and safety of your home. Once you receive that level of personalized comfort and convenience, you will only wish that you started sooner.

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