CDC Data Brief Studies Office-based Physician Visits; Highlights Chronic Conditions as Key Factor for Visits
January 28, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics recently issued a data brief identifying trends related to patient visits to physician offices. The center found that:
- Americans made nearly 884 million visits to physician offices during 2016, down from almost 991 million during 2015
- More women than men visited a physician
- Infants and older adults visited a physician more than those aged 1 to 64
- Chronic conditions were the top reason people visited a physician’s office
- 86 percent of adults and 96 percent of children had a regular place they received health care during 2016; most often that place was a physician’s office.
- Nearly half (48%) of all office-based visits involved an examination or screening
As the health care system changes these shifts are likely to continue. Experts point to the use of telemedicine, and the growth in urgi-centers and retail clinics as alternative points of care for patients who are seeking convenience. In geographic areas facing physician shortages, patients often go to nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Finally, the use of wearable medical devices can impact frequency of visits.
The prevalence of chronic conditions as a top reason for visits speaks to the ongoing need to help patients manage their diseases. The CDC says six in ten Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. These and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in America, and they are also a leading driver of health care costs.1
HAP and its member hospitals continue to work with government partners and other health care stakeholders to advance population health and wellness efforts focused on chronic disease management.
1National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Page last viewed December 19, 2018