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National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey : 2003 summary
Filetype[PDF-1.50 MB]


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  • Description:
    Objective—This report describes ambulatory care visits made to physician offices in the United States. Statistics are presented on selected characteristics of the physician’s practice, the patient, and the visit. Selected trends in office visits from 1993 through 2003 are presented. Methods—The data presented in this report were collected from the 2003 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS). NAMCS is part of the ambulatory care component of the National Health Care Survey that measures health care utilization by 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 national estimates using an estimator that uses a revised nonresponse adjustment. Results—During 2003, an estimated 906.0 million visits were made to physician offices in the United States, an overall rate of 317.3 visits per 100 persons. The visit rate to physician offices in metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) (334.7 visits per 100 persons) was significantly larger than the rate in non-MSAs (229.3 visits per 100 persons). Females had a higher visit rate compared with males, and white persons had higher rates than black or African-American persons. Overall, 59.4 percent of visits were to physicians in the specialties of general and family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Primary care specialists provided 87.8 percent of all preventive care visits. New patients, representing 11.6 percent of visits in 2003, have decreased 26 percent since 1993 (15.6 percent). Utilization rates were highest for Medicare enrollees (585.0 visits per 100 persons) and lowest for patients without insurance (106.8 visits per 100 persons). The percent of visits relying on Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program increased by 42% between 2001 and 2003. Essential hypertension, acute upper respiratory infection, arthropathies, and diabetes mellitus were the leading illness-related primary diagnoses. The percent of visits made by patients with high blood pressure readings was highest among those 45–64 years of age. On average, 2.6 medications were ordered or provided at each office visit with any mention of a medication. Between 2001 and 2003, the estrogen and progestin drug mention rate for females 45 years and over declined by 45 percent. Suggested citation: Hing E, Cherry DK, Woodwell DA. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2003 summary. Advance data from vital and health statistics; no 365. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2005. 05-0446 (09/05) ad365.pdf
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