ACOG Committee Opinion No. 755 Summary: Well-Woman Visit
A well-woman visit provides an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks. Given the shifting and complex landscape of care, in which many women may not receive all the recommended preventive services, obstetrician–gynecologists have an opportunity to contribute to the overall health and well-being of women throughout the lifespan by providing recommended preventive services and counseling. Taking a comprehensive history (specifically obtaining detailed information on symptoms and past medical and gynecologic history) will inform if certain components of the physical examination, including breast or pelvic examination, are indicated at that visit and will inform shared decision making for these examinations. Family history should be used as a risk assessment tool and should be completed and updated regularly to ensure the most comprehensive assessment of a woman’s personal risk factors. Another key component of a well-woman visit for a reproductive-aged woman is the development and discussion of her reproductive life plan to ensure that medical testing and treatments provided are aligned with her current and future plans. Obstetrician–gynecologists provide care for women across the lifespan, and periodic well-woman visits are appropriate and necessary for perimenopausal women and postmenopausal women as well. This Committee Opinion has been revised to reflect updated guidance on components of the physical examination and new sources for well-woman preventive services.
Recommendations and Conclusions
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes the following recommendations and conclusions:
© 2018 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
- A well-woman visit provides an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks.
- The periodic well-woman care visit should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors.
- The interval for specific individual services may differ for individual patients, and the scope of services provided may vary in different ambulatory care settings.
- Team-based care, including obstetrician–gynecologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals, may facilitate meeting the needs of preventive care for women.
- A comprehensive history is one of the most important aspects of a well-woman visit.
- Although components of a physical examination may not be required at a well-woman visit, obstetrician–gynecologists can play a critical role in engaging patients in shared decision making, encouraging and facilitating healthy behaviors, and counseling about a wide array of effective preventive health practices.