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June 19, 2013

The Health Checkup: Was It Ever Effective? Could It Be Effective?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Medicine and the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire.

JAMA. 2013;309(23):2496-2497. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5040

In this issue of JAMA, the JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis1 by Krogsbøll et al2 summarizes a systematic review of 9 randomized trials of a general health check. A general health check is defined as health care motivated by the need to assess general health and prevent future illness rather than to attend to symptoms. Screening tests are performed and counseling may occur during a general health check. The Cochrane systematic review3 on which this Clinical Evidence Synopsis is based concluded that a general health check was not associated with an increase or decrease in total mortality.