Office-based practices are focusing increasingly on patients 45 and older, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2008, those 45 and older accounted for 57 percent of all office visits, compared to 49 percent in 1998. Prescriptions, scans and time spent with the doctor also became increasingly concentrated on those middle aged and older, according to data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
Also, physician visits increasingly concentrated on medical and surgical specialists and less on care provided by primary care practitioners for those ages 45 and older. Furthermore, for patients ages 65 and older, the percentage of visits to primary care specialists decreased from 62 percent to 45 percent from 1978 to 2008, while the percentage of visits to physicians with a medical or surgical specialty increased from 37 percent to 55 percent.
Meanwhile, the CDC also reported that one in five Americans visited an emergency room. They derived data from the 2007 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which uses a national probability sample of visits to emergency departments of nonfederal general and short-stay hospitals in the United States. Sample data were weighted to produce annual national estimates.
There were nearly 117 million emergency room visits in 2007, or an increase of 23 percent from the previous decade. About 25 percent of visits were covered by Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*