National report: Visits to specialists, visits for urologic disease on the rise

Oct 14, 2010

The percentage of visits to physicians with a medical or surgical specialty increased significantly?from 37% to 55%?between 1978 and 2008, recently published data indicate.

The percentage of visits to physicians with a medical or surgical specialty increased significantly-from 37% to 55%-between 1978 and 2008, recently published data indicate.

The data showed that two urologic diagnoses-"symptoms involving the urinary system" and "malignant neoplasm of the prostate"-were among those diagnoses with the largest increase in number of visits for patients age 65 years and older during the 10-year period.

The findings, from the National Center for Health Statistics’ data brief on population aging and the use of office-based physician services, also include:

  • From 1998 to 2008, the proportion of physician office-based visits in the United States became increasingly concentrated on those patients age 45 years and older.
  • The intensity of physician office visits, as measured by medications prescribed or continued, imaging tests ordered or provided, and time spent with physicians, also became increasingly concentrated on those age 45 and older.
  • Over the past 30 years, the specialty concentration of visits has shifted significantly.
  • In 1978, 62% of visits by patients age 65 and older were to primary care physicians compared with 45% in 2008.
  • Between 1998 and 2008, the number of physician visits for treatment of symptoms involving the urinary system increased by 139% (second only to lipoid metabolism disorders), and the number of visits for prostate malignancy increased by 58%.