Who Went to Office-Based Providers and Why in 2015?

More female than male adults visited office-based doctors in 2015, a CDC report noted Tuesday, and chronic conditions made up the largest category of visits. The data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics gave insight into who went to office-based providers that year and why, and which services were offered and who paid for them.

More female than male adults visited office-based doctors in 2015, a CDC report noted Tuesday, and chronic conditions made up the largest category of visits.

The data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics gave insight into who went to office-based providers that year and why, and which services were offered and who paid for them. The source of the data was the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. This survey excludes physicians in community health centers, which serve low-income populations.

During 2015, the overall rate of office-based visits was 313 per 100 persons.

Women had a higher rate than men—362 visits per 100 females, versus 262 visits per 100 males.

By age, infants and older adults went to the doctor most often.

Reasons for Visits

A chronic condition was listed as the major reason for 39% of all office-based physician visits, followed by a new problem (27%), preventive care (20%), an injury (8%), and pre- or postsurgery care (5%).

More adults went to the doctor for chronic conditions than children, while most children went for either preventive care or a new problem.

Payer Source

Private insurance was the primary expected source of payment at 50% of all visits, followed by Medicare (29%), Medicaid (15%), and no insurance (6%).

By age, the majority of visits by children (57%) and adults aged 18 to 64 years (67%) listed private insurance as the main payer.

Medicaid was the primary payer for a higher percentage of visits by children (38%) than adults aged 18 to 64 (15%) and 65 or older (2%).

As would be expected, the majority of visits by older adults were paid for by Medicare (79%). Only 2% of adults 65 or older had no insurance.

Services Offered

About 52% of all visits included an examination or screening that was ordered or provided.

Compared with children, a higher percentage of adults had visits that included laboratory tests, imaging, and procedures. A higher percentage of visits by children included health education and counseling, which aligns with the type of care they sought (preventive, or for a new problem).

Reference

Ashman JJ, Rui P, Okeyode T. Characteristics of office-based physician visits, 2015 [NCHS data brief, no. 310]. CDC website. cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db310.htm. Published June 5, 2018. Accessed June 6, 2018.