Every year when New Year’s Day arrives, people set resolutions to improve their health through diet and exercise. Eating well and working out are essential to overall health, but many ignore one crucial task: going to the doctor. It may sound simple, but since the dawn of COVID-19, people avoid health screenings now more than ever before.
Recent findings from the American Cancer Society show that breast or cervical cancer screenings dropped by 6% and 11% respectively in 2020 compared to 2018. Millions of missed screenings could potentially lead to later diagnoses and may increase the number of cancer-related deaths.
To improve personal health in 2023, strive to be proactive about health by regularly seeing a primary care physician and other specialists as recommended. Here are just a few tips to stay on top of this New Year’s resolution:
Create a Health Planner
Let’s be real: going to the doctor feels harder than it should. There are dozens of medical specialties and subspecialties in the world, making it seem impossible to know just what doctors to visit and when to visit them.
To make this process easier, create a health planner to keep track of all the doctors to visit in the next year. Make a list of appointments to schedule and decide how to spread it through the next 12 months. Mark the calendar and schedule appointments early to allow for better availability.
Utilize Recommendations From Friends
After creating a health planner, ask friends and family for recommendations to see what they liked or disliked about physicians they’ve seen. Finding a primary care doctor through fellow patients is a great first step in finding a qualified team of doctors.
Choose Physicians Ahead of Time
Physician availability often depends on insurance, location and patient volume. Staying proactive in scheduling appointments is the best way to keep up with the health planner, and conducting online research is a great way to make this selection process easier.
Set Monthly Reminders
Avoid missed visits and no-show fees by setting appointment reminders on a mobile device or tablet. Rescheduling is sometimes a difficult process and may throw off the year’s health plan, so make sure to follow through with appointments — it’ll pay off in the end.
Don’t Let Fear Dictate Health
Going to the doctor and getting screened for cancer should not be scarier than skipping out on medical care altogether. No one wants to receive bad test results, but early detection is crucial in catching and treating disease early to ensure the best outcome possible.