Importance of Preventive Care

Preventive care is when you take consistent measures to prevent disease or detect existing health conditions before they can become a major issue. The earlier your doctor can find conditions like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, the sooner they can start a treatment plan, meaning a better health outcome for you. Preventive care can even help prevent public health emergencies, for example getting vaccinated against the seasonal flu to prevent the spread of the infectious disease. 

Not only does preventive care help keep you healthy, it can also lead to lower healthcare costs with less visits to specialists or the hospital. 

Here are some examples of preventive care: 

  • Blood tests to check for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol 
  • Cancer screenings, like colonoscopies and mammograms 
  • Annual wellness visits where your primary care doctor checks all areas of health – physical and emotional 
  • Vaccinations against polio, measles, and meningitis 
  • Seasonal flu and pneumonia shots 
  • Regular vision and hearing screening 
  • Routine dental check-ups every 6 months 

Talk to your R-Health doctor at your next visit to make sure you are up to date on any screenings and immunizations to keep you at your healthiest. 

The Different COVID-19 Vaccines

As of today, January 12, 2021, there are currently two vaccines that have received FDA approval. These are both mRNA vaccines including: 

According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein – or even just a piece of a protein – that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. 

There are also three additional vaccines in Phase 3 of clinical development in the US, including: 

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine​ 


Will I test positive for the COVID-19 virus if I have had the vaccine? 

  • No, you will test positive for the antibodies, but not for the virus.

Will the vaccine make me sick with COVID-19? 

  • No, none of the approved vaccines contain the live virus, which means that getting vaccinated will not cause you to get sick with COVID-19. 

Can I expect any side effects after I get the shot? 

  • Yes, you may experience some minor symptoms. Most likely your arm will be sore for about a day. There may be other flu-like symptoms that will respond to Tylenol or Advil. These manageable symptoms are very limited in duration, a day or so at most. 

Is there a chance there may be side effects and adverse effects that we don’t know about for the future?  

  • None of the current science to date points to any actual long term adverse effect that support various hypothetical theories. 

If I have a lot of allergic reactions should I get the vaccine?  

  • Yes, but possibly with a little more observation. Discuss with your doctor. 

Can I stop worrying about COVID-19 precautions if I get both doses of the vaccine? 

  • Not yet. While you will most likely have protection from becoming ill, you may still be able to transmit the virus to other people who are not protected. 

How long do the COVID-19 vaccines last? Do I need one every year like the flu shot? 

  • Unfortunately, we do not know yet. It is anticipated that the immunity will last longer than immunity developed from the infection itself. We have reason to suspect one to two years of protection and reinfection even after antibodies from the vaccine wane will most likely not be as potentially dangerous even after that. 

How will I know when it is my turn to get a COVID-19 vaccine? 

  • Unfortunately, the criteria are different at every state and even at the county-level. Check your state’s Department of Health website or with your R-Health physician to keep you updated with this information. 

Do I really need to get both shots? 

  • Yes, you do. The longer lasting immunity is based on the multiple exposures to the vaccine. There are vaccines in very late-stage development which are a single shot, however there is nothing to support single shot vaccination with the two mRNA vaccines that are currently available. 

Can’t I just let the COVID-19 virus run its course and get natural immunity? 

  • No, this is a myth. Strong immunity from a vaccination is better than natural immunity. Even if you have had the virus, you should still get vaccinated to protect yourself and those around you.   

Weren’t these vaccines rushed in their development?  

  • No. The safety and approval process for the COVID-19 vaccines is the same as any other new immunization or medication. Normally it does take years to develop and test a new vaccine, but in this case the pharmaceutical companies had a head start because scientists have been working on coronavirus vaccines for years for other variations of the coronavirus including SARS and MERS. It is also important to note that no clinical steps were skipped but there were modifications to the process including overlapping phases of the clinical trials and moving into production while the companies were awaiting final approval. 

Is it true that the mRNA vaccines can change my DNA? 

  • No, this is not true. The messenger RNA, or mRNAdoes not affect your DNA. It instructs your body to build the coronavirus’ spike protein, which then teaches your body to produce antibodies to combat the coronavirus when it encounters it later.   

Will it be my choice about which vaccine to take? How is one to know which of the vaccines available that they should take?  

  • At this point in time, there is no way to declare a preference as to which vaccine to get. More importantly, there is no known reason to choose one vaccine over another. 

Is the vaccine safe for everyone? Are there some people who shouldn’t get it?   

  • The vaccine is recommended for the frail elderly, immunocompromised, pregnant and nursing women, and people who are recovered from COVID-19If you have an allergy to current vaccines, the CDC recommends that you stay for 30 minutes of observation after your vaccination. Currently, the only group recommended to not take the vaccine are persons with known allergy to one of the components in the vaccine.  
  • Currently, the vaccine from Pfizer is recommended for children 16 years and older while the Moderna vaccine is recommended for people who are 18 years and olderThis has more to do with how the vaccines were studied rather than any inherent difference in how the vaccines would work. 

Can I get other vaccines at the same time as getting the COVID-19 vaccine?  

  • Just to be cautious, it is recommended that you leave two weeks on either side of the COVID-19 vaccination. But, if you require a tetanus shot or are part of a measles or hepatitis outbreak, co-administering the vaccines is expected and appropriate  

What happens if a lot of people opt out of taking the vaccine?   

  • COVID-19 will continue to overburden our healthcare system and take much longer to end the pandemic. In addition, many needless deaths and illness will occur.  

Why should I wait to schedule a screening mammography after the second dose?   

  • The COVID-19 vaccine may cause normal and temporary lymph node enlargement in the axilla (armpit), causing difficult interpretation in mammogram imaging. If you are due for a screening mammography, the Society of Breast Imaging has issued guidelines recommending scheduling 6 weeks after the second COVID-19 dose.

Do I have to quarantine after traveling if I’ve been fully vaccinated?   

  • In accordance with the CDC guidelines, it is recommended that if a person has waited 2 weeks until after their vaccination has completed AND begun travel after that time, no quarantine is needed. However, please inquire with your employers as they may make other recommendations with regards to travel. Please note that state requirements may vary.


Last updated 2/19/21.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Overview for Patients

We wanted to provide a new update related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As you are aware, this is a rapidly evolving situation, so the steps we are outlining below, may continue to change as more information becomes available. We will keep you updated as we have new information. There have now been confirmed cases in each of the states that R-Health operates. Although the risk is still low, R-Health continues to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for evaluation of patients who may be at risk of developing COVID-19.

Members of our clinical leadership team are communicating with the state and local departments of health to monitor and respond to this evolving situation.

Patients who have appointments should be assured that all operations continue as usual, and our practices remain ready to provide care to all our patients. The only change is that when scheduling appointments, you will be asked some additional screening questions to determine if you are at risk for exposure or symptoms of COVID-19.


Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of infection with COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

The severity of symptoms can range from very mild to severe, even death.  Importantly, most patients with COVID-19 have only mild respiratory symptoms and do not require hospitalization. However, it is important to limit contact with others to prevent further exposure.


When to Contact a Healthcare Provider

Call us right away (do not immediately come into the office) if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Call us first and ask to speak to a healthcare provider to tell us about your symptoms, recent travels, and possible exposure before you make an appointment or before you go to the ER. Coming into the office in person may spread the virus to others who are already sick.


Virtual Care

One of the benefits of R-Health is our access to virtual tools for patient communication. This includes the Spruce mobile app and the Elation Patient Passport. We encourage you to use these virtual communications tools, along with the phone, to communicate with the practice or have a virtual appointment, if medically appropriate. Call us if you need information on how to download Spruce or access the Elation Patient Passport.


Preventing the Spread

Please note that even if you are not experiencing symptoms, we each have an important role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Simple hygiene can be very helpful in preventing transmission of many illnesses. This includes

  • Washing hands frequently (with soap for 20 seconds)
  • Utilizing hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available
  • Covering a cough/sneeze with shirt sleeve or tissue (not hands)
  • Avoiding touching your face

In addition, social distancing is an important protective measure. This includes avoiding mass gatherings, avoiding crowds, and staying home if you’re not feeling well.


Additional Information

Additional up-to-date information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at


Updated March 12, 2020



Mr. J has worked for the State of New Jersey as a maintenance worker for 14 years. He has struggled with substance abuse for many years. The Human Resources department at work informed him that he could see a primary care physician at R-Health as part of his state benefits coverage for no extra charge and no copay. When he met Dr. Jones at R-Health in Ewing, NJ, he was surprised at how she listened to his story and let him speak. He says, “It felt good to have a primary care doctor take an interest in me and spend quality time.” He confided in her that he needed help. But one matter weighed on his mind. He wanted to see his daughter graduate from high school. Dr. Jones went to work and found a substance abuse program to help Mr. J with recovery and also make it possible for him to attend that graduation.

He’s clean, appreciative and grateful. And he’s getting ready to go back to work. Mr. J says that staying on top his health is a priority. “My body is like a car. I have to do the maintenance and make sure I’m taking care of it,” he adds. Now he has a partner in his health care.

Discover a true relationship with a primary care physician at R-Health.

Open Dialogue with your Doctor

Questions. A fundamental aspect of any conversation. Asking questions can help you feel at ease and bring clarity to any discussion. And one person you’ll really want to be sure that you’re asking questions of is your doctor.

While we previously discussed the role of patient engagement, asking your doctor questions is a continuation of that conversation. While R-Health doctors have the patient’s best interest in mind, sometimes messages can be lost in translation, or otherwise misconstrued, which is why questions are needed for clarity. Too often patients go along with a plan without having a full understanding, which can ultimately cause the plan to fail. Thus, TIME provided a list of things you should be asking your doctor.

  1. “What are the different treatment options?” – Regardless of your condition, there should be a shared decision-making process about your options.
  2. “What outcome should I expect?” – Knowing outcomes may impact your decision on moving forward with a treatment and/or which option to choose.
  3. “Do we have to do this now, or can we revisit later?” – Gives your doctor more time to consider the severity of an ailment, which may halt pre-mature action. Some health issues work themselves out with time. Others need to be addressed sooner.
  4. “Is there anything I can do on my own to improve my condition?” – Making changes to your lifestyle can be very important. If you treat your body correctly, it pays you back with good health.
  5. “What are the side effects?” – Patients should know of possible side effects ahead of time so they can factor them into their decision-making on the course of treatment and/or what to expect from it.
  6. “How will I hear about my test results?” – If not explicitly stated, it’s important for the patient to know how they will receive test results to prevent uncertainty and anxiety.
  7. “How much will this cost me?” – There are many uncertainties regarding cost due to insurance, different tests or medications, etc. Therefore, it’s important to ask in order to financially prepare for that commitment.
  8. “What questions haven’t I asked that I should have? – Sometimes amid asking your doctor questions, he or she may forget to mention a discussion topic they wanted to introduce. Therefore, this question can help serve as a reminder for the doctor, and get you more information.

Questions don’t always have to be this heavy. But at R-Health, we want to foster an opening and trusting dialogue between our doctors and patients. Take the initiative. Ask for help. Get your questions answered. You have tremendous access to your R-Health doctor, whether by phone, email or other electronic media.  Your R-Health team is willing and able to answer any questions you may have.

It’s Time to Engage

When afforded access to great healthcare, that’s when the real work begins. Your health goals and outcomes aren’t solely reliant on the doctor, but that responsibility also falls on you. Patient engagement is the first step towards the management of your health. According to the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, increased patient engagement leads to better patient outcomes, a higher quality of care, and lowered health care costs. It also helps in developing prevention and chronic disease self-management programs that many new practices are modeled after. However, let’s further discuss the upsides of patient engagement.

Increased communication – Physicians and patients can communicate with one another more often and provide updates and timelines on a patient’s conditions

Increased patient satisfaction – With open dialogue channels between patient and doctor, patients become more confident regarding diagnoses and conditions since they are privy to more information.

Prevention – We utilize health-related information systems to help improve health outcomes and to identify trends of health and disease earlier.

Furthermore, there are challenges when it comes to patient engagement. However, our R-Health doctors make it easy by having your health as their top priority. Our doctors:

  • Respect your individual needs
  • Lead and manage your care
  • Coordinate your care with other providers and facilities
  • Provide care for short-term and long-term illnesses based on up-to-date standards of care
  • Refer you to community resources that fit your needs

We have a few suggestions on how to stay engaged with your doctor:

  1. Partner with your doctor to develop a care plan (inform your doctor of any illnesses)
  2. Follow your care plan, and let your doctor know if you have difficulty with it
  3. Keep your appointments and contact your doctor if you can’t make it
  4. Check your patient portal for clinical summaries and instructions after each appointment
  5. If you have any question that needs answering, don’t wait, feel free to reach out to your doctor at any time

Despite aids from technology and the availability of your doctor, engagement isn’t effective if you don’t take the initiative to use these tools and seize more control of your health outcomes. With R-Health you have unlimited access to your doctor, so now it’s your turn to get engaged!