A brief jaunt through Google Scholar would suggest that the official recommendation is against yearly screening. On the other hand, it does suggest some regular screenings, like yearly dental checkups, yearly eye checks for those over 60, occasional breast examinations, a one time skin check, etc. Between it all, it seems like you’re going to have something every year, though you might only see a primary care physician at an irregular schedule every few years.
I imagine that it’s one of those things where, if there were no such thing as money or resource limitations in the world, it would certainly be better to have a regular checkup. They’re completely useless right up to the point that one saves your life, and that’s sort of a big deal to the individual. So if money is no object, it might make sense to treat the medical establishment in this way.
But in a real world, where things cost money and doctors have a limited amount of time in the day, at a population-wide scale, it’s a waste of resources.
I suspect that, within the next five years, we’ll start getting computerized checkups. I know that as a kid, I once saw a machine in the supermarket that would take your blood pressure and give you a diagnostic. I could see something like that catching on. If we had a centralized system tracking our status, a device like this would be great as it would both perform all the dumb, administrative tasks of a physical and be able to remind us that when we are due to go see a real human.
So, to a large extent, I suspect that the point is moot. Pretty soon, it’s going to correct itself.