In 1923 the American Medical Association approved the principle of "periodic health examinations." A comprehensive physician's manual was published that year and subsequently was revised a number of times. Yet now, 42 years later, there is still no consensus among physicians on what should be included in such an examination. Nor is there complete agreement among the profession on the concept of health examinations.
As a result, some patients may think they have had a complete physical examination when their visit actually consisted of blood-pressure measurement or a pelvic examination. Other patients may become disillusioned when they receive from different physicians totally different products under the same label of "a health examination." This diversity exists not because of professional ineptitude or personal inertia, but often simply because of a physician's special interest in a particular phase of medicine or family of diseases. These concerns may take precedence in contacts with