National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 1997 summary

D A Woodwell
Advance Data 1999 May 20, (305): 1-28

OBJECTIVE: This report describes ambulatory care visits made to physician offices within the United States. Statistics are presented on selected characteristics of the physician's practice, the patient, and the visit.

METHODS: The data presented in this report were collected from the 1997 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). NAMCS is part of the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey, which measures health care utilization across various types of providers. NAMCS is a national probability sample survey of visits to office-based physicians in the United States. Sample data are weighted to produce annual estimates.

RESULTS: During 1997 an estimated 787.4 million visits were made to physician offices in the United States, an overall rate of 3.0 visits per person. One quarter of these visits were made to general and family physicians, which was a significantly higher proportion compared to the other 13 specialties. Persons aged 75 years and over had the highest rate of physician office visits, 6.5 visits per person. Females had a significantly higher rate of visits to physician offices than males overall, as did white persons compared with black persons. Of all visits made to these offices in 1997, approximately 50 percent listed private insurance as the primary expected source of payment, and almost 30 percent were made by patients belonging to a health maintenance organization (HMO). There were an estimated 81.6 million injury-related visits during 1997, or 30.6 visits per 100 persons. Two-thirds of these visits were for unintentional injuries.

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