Prochazka et al conducted a postal survey of attitudes and practices regarding the annual physical examination (PE) of primary care providers (PCPs) residing in 3 geographic areas (Boston, Mass; Denver, Colo; and San Diego, Calif). Most PCPs (65%) agreed that an annual PE is necessary, and 88% perform such examinations. Most (94%) agreed that an annual PE provides time to counsel patients about preventive health services, improves patient-physician relationships, and is desired by most patients (78%). Most believe that an annual PE improves detection of subclinical illness (74%) and is of proven value (63%). Many believed that tests should be part of an annual PE, including mammography (44%), lipid panel (48%), urinalysis (44%), blood glucose (46%), and complete blood cell count (39%). Despite contrary evidence, most PCPs believed an annual PE detects subclinical illness and many report performing unproven screening laboratory tests.