The Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) is a yearly, prevention-focused visit where the patient and primary care provider (PCP) discuss current health concerns and identify future problems. Not to be confused with a routine physical exam, the goal of the AWV is to assess a patient’s risk factors, develop a personalized prevention plan, and discuss advance care planning. For providers, the Annual Wellness Visit also increases the chance of achieving shared savings in value contracts through capturing important health screenings and quality measures.
What is an AWV?
While there is no physical exam, that does not mean the visit is fruitless. The AWV enables a provider to get to know patients in detail through a “Health Risk Assessment.” This assessment, which reviews health conditions, lifestyle choices, mental health, and family health history, allows the patient and provider to collaboratively develop a personalized prevention plan to stay healthy.
- A review of medical and family history
- A review of current providers and prescriptions
- Measures such as height, weight, blood pressure, etc.
- Detection of cognitive impairments
- Personalized health advice
- List of risk factors and treatment options
- Screening schedule for preventive services
- Advance care planning
Why is an AWV Important?
According to the CDC, if everyone received the recommended clinical preventive care, more than 100,000 lives could be saved each year. By assessing and addressing health risks and needs early on, patients can stay one step ahead of their health and reduce future healthcare costs. For the provider, an Annual Wellness Visit can establish a relationship with the patient, acting as an opportunity to impact patient satisfaction. It stimulates a conversation that helps set a plan for health and wellness, allows for capturing important quality measures, and can help PCPs conduct pre-visit planning prior to an office visit. Overall, the AWV benefits both the patient and provider by improving the quality of care.
Know the Differences – IPPE, AWV, Routine Physicals
While IPPE, AWV, and routine physicals are commonly used interchangeably, they are not the same. These visits differ on purpose and coverage through Medicare. See below for an overview of each visit:
The AWV is a no-cost preventive visit for Medicare beneficiaries but can save thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands in healthcare spend a year. As we continue to move to value, preventive services like the AWV are critical to improving quality of care. The conversations between a patient and provider during an AWV stimulate patient engagement, improve patient satisfaction, and ultimately enhance health outcomes.
Ensure you are scheduling AWVs to keep your patients healthy and capture valuable quality data.