Objective: To determine the current proportion of pediatric primary care and specialty visits being conducted by pediatricians versus other providers.
Study design: We used data from 1980-2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (NAMCS) to examine trends in office visits by patients 0 to 17 years of age. During our years of interest, the total number of visits in NAMCS by children ranged from 2597 to 9220 per year.
Results: Overall, the percentage of all nonsurgical physician office visits for children 0 to 17 years of age made to general pediatricians increased from 61% in 1996 to 71% in 2006 and those to nonpediatric generalists fell from 28% to 22%. The greatest changes between 2000 and 2006 occurred in the adolescent age group where the proportion of visits to general pediatricians increased from 38% to 53%.
Conclusions: Pediatricians continue to provide most primary care visits for children in the United States. For the first time, pediatricians now provide most visits for adolescents.
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