Skip to Content

Preventive and Routine Visits at UPMC

One of the best ways to stay healthy is to see your primary care provider (PCP) regularly.

Over time, your doctor gets to know you, your lifestyle, and your preferences.

Routine visits can keep you up-to-date on vaccines and detect any changes in your health.

Here's what you should know about preventive care and routine doctor's visits.

What Is Preventive Care?

Preventive care is seeing your PCP when you're healthy to help you stay healthy. It's not care you get when you're sick.

People of all ages and states of health benefit from preventive care.

Preventive care includes:

  • Vaccines. They protect you from diseases like the flu or tetanus.
  • Yearly wellness check-ups. Sometimes your doctor can catch a problem before you're aware of it. Your doctor may order blood work to learn more about your health.
  • Routine screening tests to catch diseases like cancer or heart disease before it gets serious. These can include Pap tests, mammograms, and colonoscopies.

UPMC provides a broad range of preventive medicine services at our primary care locations.

What Preventive Care Services Do You Offer at UPMC?

  • Routine check-ups. These are "well visits" where your PCP does a physical exam. You can bring up any health concerns or questions you have. Your PCP may give advice about your diet, lifestyle, or health habits.
  • Screenings and blood tests. Your doctor may suggest the right tests for your age and health history. These might include screening for STIs, osteoporosis, and breast or colon cancer. Blood tests can tell your doctor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Counseling. Your PCP can give you advice on living a healthy lifestyle. That includes everything from caring for a new baby to coping with stress. They can also give tips on heart-healthy eating, quitting smoking, and weight management.
  • Immunizations. Your PCP may suggest vaccines for flu, COVID-19, tetanus, pneumonia, or shingles. These shots will help protect you from these diseases.
  • Assessments for older people. Your PCP can assess fall risk, hearing loss, and memory loss. They can also talk about your advance directives. An advance directive is a written statement of your wishes for medical care if you can't communicate.

What Is a Routine Visit?

A routine visit happens when you may or may not be sick. It's a way to check in with your doctor regularly.

Seeing your PCP on a set schedule helps you prevent illness.

You can talk to your doctor about how often they should see you. For many adults, it's once every six months or one time a year. For younger, healthy adults, it may be less.

A routine visit may include a physical exam, drawing blood, and screening for mental health problems like depression. All these things will help your doctor better understand your overall health.

Your PCP may give you tips on:

  • Exercise and weight management.
  • Heart-healthy eating.
  • Managing stress.
  • Quitting smoking.

You can ask your PCP if a video visit is an option for a routine visit.

Find a UPMC PCP close to you if you don't already have one. Then call us to make an appointment or learn how we can help.

What's the Difference Between Preventive and Routine Care?

Routine care means seeing your PCP on a regular basis. It includes physical exams and bloodwork.

Preventive care means specific things your provider does to help prevent disease. It includes vaccines, screening tests, and healthy lifestyle counseling.

Routine care and preventive care are closely related. People sometimes use these terms interchangeably.

Physical exams

A physical is part of routine health care for adults and children.

You may also need a physical for activities such as:

  • Driver's license.
  • Jobs.
  • School.
  • Sports.
  • Summer camp.

If you're a current patient and you had a recent exam, your PCP may not need to see you. They may fill out your physical form based on that visit.

It's best to contact your PCP for details about completing the forms for activities.

What will happen during the physical exam?

During your exam, your doctor will check your health by using special equipment to:

  • Listen to your heart.
  • Listen to your lungs.
  • Look into your ears, eyes, and mouth.

They'll check different body systems with simple tests and ask questions.

The exam is your chance to discuss your overall health with your doctor and ask any questions.

Contact UPMC Primary Care

Call your PCP's office to plan a visit.

Or find a UPMC PCP location close to you and make an appointment.