National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 1995-96 summary

S M Schappert, C Nelson
Vital and Health Statistics. Series 13, Data From the National Health Survey 1999, (142): i-vi, 1-122

OBJECTIVE: This report describes ambulatory medical care visits to nonfederally employed, office-based physicians in the United States during 1995 and 1996. Statistics are presented on selected physician, patient, and visit characteristics.

METHODS: The data in this report were collected in the 1995 and 1996 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (NAMCS). The NAMCS is part of the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey (NHCS), which measures health care utilization across a variety of providers. The NAMCS is a national probability sample survey of visits to nonfederally employed, office-based physicians in the United States. Sample data were weighted to produce annual estimates. Estimates are presented in this report as annual averages unless otherwise noted.

RESULTS: During 1995-96, an estimated 1.4 billion visits were made to physician offices in the United States, an annual average of 715.8 million visits. The visit rate was 2.7 visits per person per year. This rate did not differ significantly from visit rates observed in any previous survey year. Females made 59.4 percent of the visits, or 3.2 visits per person annually. This was higher than the visit rate for males. White persons had a higher visit rate than black persons. Six of every 10 visits were to primary care providers. Injury-related visits accounted for 11.8 percent of all office visits, or 84.6 million per year. The annual rate of injury-related office visits was 32.2 visits per 100 persons. The most frequent reason for visiting the physician was for a general medical examination (6.8 percent). Cough was the most frequent symptomatic reason. Acute respiratory infections and essential hypertension were the diagnoses reported most frequently.

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