The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted everything, including annual preventative care visits for many. Fortunately, vaccines are available and efforts to beat the pandemic are starting to pay off. But before you jump back into your favorite activities, don’t forget to schedule a well visit with your doctor. It’s your ticket to a healthy 2021 and beyond.

Your Health, Primary Care | 26 days ago

Did You Skip a Well Visit in 2020? Now’s the Time to Get Your Health Back on Track

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted everything, including annual preventative care visits for many. Fortunately, vaccines are available and efforts to beat the pandemic are starting to pay off. But before you jump back into your favorite activities, don't forget to schedule a well visit with your doctor. It's your ticket to a healthy 2021 and beyond. 

If you postponed a doctor’s visit during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. “We saw fewer patients in 2020, and visits are still down this year,” says Lydia Calamari, MD, an internal medicine physician at Atrium Health Charlotte Internal Medicine and Specialty Group.

Many people put off doctor visits during the height of the pandemic, but physicians caution patients against waiting any longer to come in for care. “Any time you neglect your preventative healthcare or ignore new or worsening symptoms, it can lead to serious health consequences,” Dr. Calamari explains.

As more people get vaccinated and life starts inching toward normalcy, everyone’s thinking about diving back into their favorite activities, including travel. But if you put off care because of the pandemic—even your annual well-check, now’s the time to get your health back on track with a visit to your primary care physician.

Everyone Needs Preventative Care

Regardless of your age, gender or medical condition, preventative care applies to and benefits everyone, even the healthiest individuals. As its name suggests, its routine healthcare that includes screenings, check-ups, and patient counseling to prevent illnesses, disease, or other health problems according to Healthcare.gov.

“Your primary care physician takes the lead on your preventative care,” says Dr. Calamari. “Our goal in providing that care is to keep healthy people healthy, check in on those with pre-existing conditions and identify changes that could improve a patient’s overall health.”

Dr. Calamari recommends making a habit of visiting your primary care physician every year. However, those on prescription medications or with underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, may need to come in more often to keep their health on track, she says.  

Well-Checks Help You Set Yearly Health Goals

Think of your annual preventative care appointment as a form of self-care that includes setting yourself up for a healthy year. Expect the visit to start with some back-and-forth dialogue, which helps your physician assess your general health and lifestyle through a series of questions.

“To get the most out of this discussion, be as honest as you can with your provider,” says Dr. Calamari. “Share any symptoms or concerns about your physical or emotional well-being, as well as any health goals you’d like to set for the coming year.”

As part of that conversation, your physician may recommend routine screening based on current medical guidelines for your age or gender, such as blood tests or a mammogram or colonoscopy. They may also suggest lifestyle changes such as dietary modifications, alcohol reduction or anything else that can improve your well-being or help you meet your health goals.

Primary care physicians complete your wellness visit by performing a physical exam geared toward your age and gender. 

Care Postponement Impacts Your Health

The reality is that many people are dealing with medical issues that emerged or worsened during 2020 because they delayed their preventative care appointments. In addition to normal pressures, the challenges of the pandemic have caused or exacerbated conditions often triggered by stress, such as high blood pressure, migraines, obesity, anxiety disorders and depression

“Not every medical problem can be prevented, but seeing your doctor once a year and addressing issues that have come up keeps them from having a bigger impact on your life than they have to,” says Dr. Calamari. “You know your body better than anyone. If something doesn’t feel right, check in with your primary care physician sooner rather than later.”

Safe Appointments Await Everyone

Since the start of the pandemic, Atrium Health has implemented COVID-safe standards of care across all facilities, including:

  • Temperature screenings
  • Socially distanced waiting rooms
  • Fully sanitized exam rooms
  • Separate treatments areas for COVID and non-COVID patients

In addition, most Atrium Health providers have been fully vaccinated. You can feel confident it’s safe to resume your preventative care or make a specific appointment to discuss any new or worsening symptoms, such as unusual chest pain, headaches or swelling.


Prioritizing your health should be at the top of your to-do list. If you're ready to get back on track, call your primary care provider to schedule an appointment. If you need a provider, visit online or call 1-844-235-6997 and we'll help you find the right doctor for you and schedule any needed appointments.

Learn more about how to get back to the doctor and why it's so important.