Graham Center One-Pagers

Number of Persons Who Consulted a Physician, 1997 and 2002



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Am Fam Physician. 2005 Sep 15;72(6):1007.

Most people in the United States consult a general physician each year, and some see other subspecialists. However, the proportion of people consulting a general physician who sees adults and children appears to be declining.

Millions of people consult physicians in the United States each year. According to data from the 1997 and 2002 National Health Interview Surveys, in most specialties the number and proportion of adults, children, and pregnant adult women consulting physicians increased over the five-year period1; the number and proportion of persons consulting general physicians who see adults and children are notable exceptions (see accompanying table2).

The proportion of adults who consult with general physicians who see adults and children declined by 3 percent, and the proportion of children declined even further. To the extent that general physicians who see adults and children mostly are family physicians, this finding is consistent with data from other national surveys that reveal a decline in visits to family physicians.3

Persons Who Consulted Physicians in the Preceding 12 Months, 1997 and 2002

Number of persons (millions) who consulted: Percentage* of total who consulted:
A physician General physicians who see adults and children General physicians who see adults and children Genera physicians Obstetricians/gynecologists Other subspecialists

Adults

1997

195

80

41

66

23

24

2002

206

77

38

67

23

26

Children

1997

71

28

39

78

1

12

2002

73

23

32

80

1

13

Pregnant Adult Women

1997

2

0.8

36

57

87

15

2002

3

0.9

35

61

87

17


*—Percentages do not total 100 because persons may have seen more than one type of physician during the preceding 12 months.

†—Family physicians, general practitioners, general internists, and general pediatricians.

Information from reference 2.

Persons Who Consulted Physicians in the Preceding 12 Months, 1997 and 2002

View Table

Persons Who Consulted Physicians in the Preceding 12 Months, 1997 and 2002

Number of persons (millions) who consulted: Percentage* of total who consulted:
A physician General physicians who see adults and children General physicians who see adults and children Genera physicians Obstetricians/gynecologists Other subspecialists

Adults

1997

195

80

41

66

23

24

2002

206

77

38

67

23

26

Children

1997

71

28

39

78

1

12

2002

73

23

32

80

1

13

Pregnant Adult Women

1997

2

0.8

36

57

87

15

2002

3

0.9

35

61

87

17


*—Percentages do not total 100 because persons may have seen more than one type of physician during the preceding 12 months.

†—Family physicians, general practitioners, general internists, and general pediatricians.

Information from reference 2.

REFERENCES

1. Green LA, Dodoo MS, Ruddy G, Fryer GE, Phillips RL, McCann JL, et al. The physician workforce of the United States: a family medicine perspective. Washington, D.C.: Robert Graham Center, 2004.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey. Analysis by the Robert Graham Center, 2004.

3. Dodoo MS, Fryer GE, Green LA, Phillips RL, Ruddy GR, McCann JL, et al. Graham Center One-Pager #35. Patterns of visits to physicians’ offices in the United States, 1980 to 2003. Washington, D.C.: Robert Graham Center, September 2005.

note: The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or the policy of the AAFP.

Adapted from the Graham Center One-Pager #36. Number of persons who consulted a physician, 1997 and 2002. September 2005. Available online at: http://www.graham-center.org/onepager36.xml. From the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, 1350 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 201, Washington, DC 20036 (telephone: 202-331-3360; fax: 202-331-3374; e-mail: policy@aafp.org).

 

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