January 9, 2024

The Importance of a Hands-On Physcial Exam

A hands-on physical exam is crucial for preventing and diagnosing health issues

The Importance of a Hands-On Physcial Exam


As our world becomes more digital, virtual medical visits have become increasingly popular. Patients love the convenience of seeing their provider from the comfort of their own home, and providers love being able to reach more patients without having to worry about scheduling or travel. However, there is one critical aspect of healthcare that virtual visits simply cannot replace: the hands-on physical exam. Many patients believe that virtual visits are enough to diagnose serious conditions, but the truth is that a physical exam is an essential part of any medical evaluation. During a physical exam, your Nurse Practitioner can check for signs and symptoms that may not be apparent during a virtual visit, such as a lump in your breast or an irregular heartbeat. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of a hands-on physical exam and why it is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

During the exam

During the exam, your provider will check your vital signs, like your heart rate and blood pressure, and do a neurologic exam to make sure your brain and nerves are working properly. They'll also feel your abdomen to check for any abnormalities and listen to your heart and lungs. Plus, they'll take a look at your skin, tongue, nails, and hair, and even observe your gait, voice, body position, and mannerisms. All of these things can give your provider important clues about your health that they might not be able to get during a virtual visit. So even if you feel fine, don't skip your regular physical exams! They could help you catch something serious before it becomes a bigger problem.

The benefits of a hands-on physical exam

1. Detects hidden symptoms: A physical exam can detect symptoms that may not be apparent during a virtual visit. For example, a lump in the breast or an irregular heartbeat can only be detected through a physical exam. These symptoms can be signs of serious conditions, such as cancer or heart disease.

2. Provides a baseline: A physical exam provides a baseline for future comparisons. It helps providers monitor changes in your health over time and detect any new symptoms or conditions that may arise.

3. Builds trust: A physical exam is an opportunity for providers to build trust with their patients. It shows that they care about their patients' overall health and wellbeing. This trust can lead to better communication, which is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

4. Identifies risk factors: A physical exam can identify risk factors for certain conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. With this information, doctors can develop a plan to prevent or manage these conditions.


In conclusion, a hands-on physical exam is an essential part of any medical evaluation. It can detect hidden symptoms, provide a baseline for future comparisons, build trust, and identify risk factors. While virtual visits may be convenient, they cannot replace the importance of a physical exam. So, don't underestimate the value of a hands-on physical exam and make sure to schedule one regularly with your provider.