Myth Busters: I Have to See a Gynecologist to Receive a Well Woman Screening

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By now, we should all know the importance of regular checkups with your doctor. These annual wellness visits are just as big a part of staying healthy as exercise and a nutritious diet; most importantly because it is often during these visits that doctors perform screenings for serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.

While there are multiple screenings required for an in-depth annual wellness visit, the good news is that, in most cases, your primary care provider (PCP) can do them all. And this is especially true at White-Wilson Medical Center where our in-house laboratory and imaging services allow for more complex screenings to be done in one convenient location.

However, when it comes to women’s health, there is the belief that the one-stop shop approach just doesn’t work.

“Some women believe that their well woman screening has to be administered by a gynecologist,” explains Dr. Karen Hoffman, an internist at White-Wilson Medical Center in Niceville. “However, many primary care practices, including White-Wilson, are more than happy to provide well woman exams including the recommended screenings and tests.”

According to Dr. Hoffman, basic women’s health needs are well within the scope of primary care providers training. If your provider offers these services, this means you won’t have to book with your gynecologist for things such as Pap smears, STD testing and even providing means of contraceptive.

“It all comes down to the patient, their preferences and, especially, their health history,” says Dr. Hoffman. “For many women, their primary care physician is ready to provide the care they need in an environment they are already comfortable in. After the visit, your health history will be updated so your physician can continue to work alongside you to ensure you are doing everything you can to catch potential issues early. If you need more specialized care, your physician will be a good resource for getting you to the right place”

Well woman exams, as well as annual wellness exams, are fully covered by most insurance policies. To schedule your next well woman exam, call White-Wilson Medical Center at 850-863-8100.


Karen Hoffman, DO is board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons. She has more than 22 years of experience caring for patients, including providing annual wellness and well woman examinations, as well a chronic disease treatment and management. Dr. Hoffman is accepting patients at the White-Wilson Internal Medicine Clinic in Niceville.