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J Adolesc Health. 2010 Apr;46(4):324-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

Utilization of health services in physician offices and outpatient clinics by adolescents and young women in the United States: implications for improving access to reproductive health services.

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1
Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA. khoover@cdc.gov

Abstract

PURPOSE:

We examined utilization patterns of adolescents and young women as they seek general and reproductive health services in physician offices and hospital outpatient clinics.

METHODS:

We analyzed physician office visits in the 2003-2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys, and hospital outpatient clinic visits in the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys, to examine utilization patterns of females aged 9-26 years by 2-year age intervals and other characteristics such as physician specialty or clinic type.

RESULTS:

The number of visits to primary care physician offices increased with age, from 4.9 million for ages 9-10 years to 9.0 million for ages 25-26 years. The proportion of visits made to obstetrician-gynecologists and family practitioners increased with age, and by ages 15-16 years fewer than half of all visits to primary care providers were made to pediatricians. The proportion of visits to family practitioners increased from 25% at ages 9-10 years to 30% at ages 25-26 years. By ages 17-18 years, a larger proportion of visits were made to obstetrician-gynecologists (33% of 7.0 million visits) and to family practitioners (34%) than to pediatricians (23%). The proportion of visits for reproductive health services peaked at 53% of 7.5 million physician visits at ages 20-21 years. Similar utilization patterns were observed for the 11.0 million hospital outpatient visits to primary care providers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Because adolescents and young women most commonly utilize healthcare services provided by obstetrician-gynecologists and family practitioners, these specialties should be priority targets for interventions to improve the quality and availability of reproductive health services.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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