Annual OB/GYN Visits are Obsolete?
by Cathy Milne APRN, MSN, BC-ANP/CS, CWOCN
Annual PAP smears as no longer considered the gold standard for women. While that may spell relief for the millions of us who dread those cold stirrups, it has far reaching consequences that may impact health care costs.
Dr. Joe Walsh, the Chief of general OB/GYN at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, recommends healthy women to have an OB/GYN exam every three years. "The question is: Is there anything we are doing beyond the Pap that will improve the woman's health? And that answer is 'no'".1 Gosh! OB/GYN health care providers are the first line of defense in detecting and preventing urinary incontinence!
This short-sighted view of "Let's just take a Pap smear, we don't need to counsel our patients to prevent incontinence, transmission of sexual diseases, and optimize transitions into and out of the reproductive phases of our of lives" can and will cost the U.S. health care system billions in future procedures and admissions to long-term care and home health settings. You can't blame Dr. Walsh. He was just reiterating the recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. Now there's a name that carries a lot of irony!
1 O'Shaunnessy, T. Are annual ob/gyn visits now obsolete? Republican American Newspaper. 2012; Tuesday, September 18:Page 4D; Waterbury, Connecticut.
About the Author
Catherine T. Milne is the Clinical Editor of IncontinenceSource, and is the co-owner of Connecticut Clinical Nursing Associates, a practice focusing on direct patient care, consultation, education and research in the fields of wound, ostomy and continence care.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of IncontinenceSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.