News from the FDA/CDC

Less than half of office visits involve primary care


Visits to primary care generalists, which made up two-thirds of the visits to physician offices in 1980, now represent less than half of all visits, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Primary care physicians’ share of office visits fell from 66.2% in 1980 to 49.1% in 2013, the NCHS reported in “Health, United States, 2016.” The corresponding increase among specialty care physicians gave them a total of 50.9% of all office visits in 2013, up from 33.8% in 1980.

Distribution of visits to physician offices
Age may be playing a part in this shift. The generalists mostly held their own among patients younger than 18 years, who made 77.8% of all their office visits to primary care physicians in 1980, compared with 73.8% in 2013. The shift away from primary care, however, increased along with patient age: from 65.3% of visits in 1980 to 53.7% in 2013 for those aged 18-44 years; 60.2% to 42.1% for 45- to 64-year-olds, and 61.6% to 38.3% for those aged 65 years and over, the NCHS said.

The NCHS estimates are based on data collected by the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which excluded Alaska and Hawaii in 1980.

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