March 7, 2024

The Executive Physical Explained

by SHIFT Team

Have you ever had an annual physical where the doctor rushed through the examination, barely allowing time for questions before moving on? Did the primary care physician examine your chart longer than the time they spent having a conversation with you? Did you burn through important hours of your workday just sitting in the waiting room?

These experiences can leave you wondering about the value of the annual visit and disconcerted about your true health. Sadly, these are common scenarios, which often contribute to a negative perception of routine physicals and cause many to outright avoid them for several years.

However, there’s an alternative for busy Chicago executives who need to get a physical. Executive physicals offer a different experience and might change your perspective on annual comprehensive health assessments.

Read on to explore what an executive physical in Chicago entails, how it differs from a standard physical, and how it can benefit your individual well-being, as well as the health of your company’s leaders.

What Is an Executive Physical?

When demands are high, and stress is ever-present, maintaining peak physical and mental health shouldn’t just be a personal goal but a strategic necessity for both your personal life and career. The executive physical addresses these lifestyle factors with an intensive health assessment tailored for busy Chicagoland professionals and executives by transcending the standard health screening. Executive physicals provide a comprehensive evaluation of health and vitality and are indispensable for executives striving for excellence and longevity in their careers.

The executive physical is an in-depth, comprehensive examination during which the primary care doctor dedicates nearly an entire day to discussing your health history with you. It includes aspects of health that are often overlooked in traditional, insurance-driven practices where appointments typically last only 15 minutes. The Executive physical includes a full panel of diagnostic testing and a complete physical exam that considers your current health status and individual goals. 
This highly personalized, comprehensive health assessment is designed to uncover potential health risks and provide a holistic view of one’s overall health status to help the physician develop a plan for optimal wellness that focuses on additional factors, such as nutrition, fitness, recovery, and stress management.

How Is an Executive Physical Different Than a Traditional Annual Physical?

Unlike a routine physical exam or wellness check, the executive physical is customized to the individual’s unique health profile, lifestyle factors, and specific health concerns. Additionally, there are more in-depth tests, scans, and evaluations you wouldn’t find at typical annual health assessments from traditional healthcare practices. An executive physical differs from a traditional annual physical in three main ways:

1. Care Philosophy

Typically, traditional annual physicals adopt a reactive approach, focusing on quick assessments and treatment methods, often involving medications. These visits often lack in-depth discussions about lifestyle factors that could significantly impact health outcomes. In contrast, executive physicals emphasize proactive care, aiming for long-term health and wellness. They allow ample time for detailed conversations about lifestyle, diet, and exercise, providing a more holistic view of health. Additionally, executive physicals are not constrained by insurance limitations, allowing for a more comprehensive and personalized approach to care.

2. Testing

Traditional annual physicals often involve basic tests that lack context or detailed analysis. In contrast, executive physicals include a full panel of diagnostic tests to establish a detailed health baseline and identify potential risks. These tests go beyond the standard blood work and may include advanced imaging studies, stress tests, movement assessments, and other screenings to provide a comprehensive overview of your health.

3. Multidisciplinary Care

In a traditional annual physical, the focus is often on the primary care physician, who may not have expertise in all areas of health and wellness. As a result, aspects such as fitness, nutrition, and recovery are often glossed over. In contrast, executive physicals involve a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. This team, composed of registered dietitians and physical therapists, collaborates to review test results, discuss findings, and create a cohesive plan for your health. Executive physicals offer a more comprehensive and tailored approach to health and wellness by integrating various strategies and expertise.

What an Executive Physical Includes

An executive physical may include the following diagnostic and screening tests:

  • Biometric analysis through laboratory blood testing

Could include a complete Blood Count (CBC) with differential, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), Lipid Panel, Hemoglobin A1c, Thyroid Profile, Vitamin D, Ferritin, and Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test (males only), among others.

  • Vision/Audiology screening

Visual acuity test to check vision and uncover any changes, and pure-tone testing to detect signs of hearing loss.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) test

An EKG test records the heart’s electrical signals to detect underlying heart problems and monitor cardiovascular health.

  • Body composition analysis

As the gold standard for body composition analysis, a DEXA scan provides detailed analysis, including segmental data of fat and lean mass, regional fat distribution (including visceral adipose tissue), and appendicular lean mass indices. Data from this test, along with information gathered from your laboratory tests and nutrition consultation, help determine metabolic health and associated risks.  

  • Cardiorespiratory fitness test

VO2 max, or maximal oxygen consumption, refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that can be utilized during intense exercise. This test, performed on a treadmill or bicycle, provides aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, as well as individualized heart rate zones to reference when building a fitness regimen. VO2 max tests are considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance.

  • Video-based gait analysis

An advanced form of movement analysis, video gait analysis allows physicians to observe body mechanics at different phases of the gait cycle, including foot strike, hip extension, arm swing, and hip/ankle angle. We identify asymmetries that lead to a greater risk of injury. Data from this test in combination with information gathered from your consultation with your physical therapist, help to provide personalized exercises and routines.

What Are the Benefits of an Executive Physical?

The executive physical is more than mere prevention; it embodies a proactive approach to optimize health. By identifying potential health issues early, executives can take preemptive measures to address them before they escalate. This proactive stance can lead to enhanced health outcomes, heightened productivity, and an elevated quality of life. Executive physicals provide a comprehensive overview of health status, empowering executives to make informed decisions regarding their health and well-being. By investing in their health, executives can enhance their performance, mitigate the risk of illness, and extend their healthspan.

Further, its impact extends to the patient’s organization. By ensuring that their top executives are in peak health, companies can safeguard their most valuable assets — their leadership team. Healthy executives are more productive, more focused, and better equipped to steer the organization through complex issues and lead their companies to unparalleled success.

Where Can I Get an Executive Physical in Chicago?

The Executive Physical is more than just a check-up; it is a strategic investment in one’s health and career. At SHIFT, our team provides a world-class executive physical experience focused on cutting-edge diagnostics, proactive care, and sustainable lifestyle change strategies. SHIFT is reshaping the concept of healthcare with a concierge medicine approach focused on the patient rather than the disease. Our concierge healthcare membership includes our premier executive physical as well as a full year of concierge medical care.  

Want to learn more about how SHIFT’s Executive Physical can improve your health, extend your longevity, and enhance your performance?

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