A health appraisal is an evaluation of an individual’s health performed to gather information about both his current bodily fitness as well as his risk of developing various medical conditions. While a health appraisal can bear many similarities to a physical examination, it tends to place more emphasis on future medical risks than a physical traditionally does. Periodic health appraisals are often mandatory for students, and may also be offered by one’s employer. Some health appraisal providers offer follow-up support services which assist individuals in controlling their risk of developing a certain medical condition in the future.
Often, a health appraisal incorporates many of the same steps as a typical physical examination. For instance, during an appraisal a physician may weigh and measure a patient, check his vital signs, examine his ears, and observe his reflexes. The factor that typically sets an appraisal apart from a physical, however, is that while a physical tends to focus on a patient’s current health, an appraisal seeks to determine the patient’s risk of developing medical conditions in the future. This risk is usually determined by analyzing a patient’s physical exam results in combination with a detailed questionnaire concerning his personal and family medical history, his behaviors, and his willingness to take an active role in maintaining his health.
In many schools, students are required to receive a periodic health appraisal. Gathering information about a student’s health can contribute to that student’s educational success by reducing the absenteeism and poor performance which can be caused by emerging medical conditions. Some health care providers also offer health appraisals to insured individuals. In this case, an appraisal benefits the individual by allowing him to take steps to limit his health risks. When the individual addresses his health issues before they develop into significant problems, the insurance provider in turn avoids the costly claims which can accompany chronic illnesses.
Some health appraisal providers offer follow-up support services which grant assistance to individuals who wish to manage their health risks. For instance, if a tobacco user’s appraisal reveals that he has a high risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he may decide to reduce this risk by quitting smoking. An appraisal provider that offers follow-up support may help the individual realize his goal of quitting by supplying smoking cessation aids such as nicotine patches and providing the emotional support needed to navigate cravings and withdrawal symptoms.