Ishani Ganguli, M.D., in citing a Dartmouth study about the wide variations among various places in how often patients see their physicians, says doctors don’t actually know often they should see them. There’s little research on determining when the next appointment should be.
She writes: “As we learn more about the impact of visit frequencies and get better at nontraditional visits, we can start to tailor care for individual patients with their unique medical problems, personalities, goals, and attitudes about health and healthcare. Rather than lamenting the uselessness of the annual physical (a popular target these days), we can examine the traditional visit and strip it for parts: What aspects are useful for a patient like Larry? Today, it might be managing his knee pain from afar. Two years from now, if his prostate cancer recurs and metastasizes, it might be a frank discussion — in person — of how he wants to spend his final months.”