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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016 Dec;25(12):1231-1236. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Office Visits for Women Aged 45-64 Years According to Physician Specialties.

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1 Robert Graham Center, Center for Policy Studies , American Academy of Family Physicians, Washington, District of Columbia.
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine , Albuquerque, New Mexico .



The increase in access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act highlights the need to track where women seek their office-based care. The objectives of this study were to examine the types of physicians sought by women beyond their customary reproductive years and before being elderly.


This retrospective cohort study involved an analysis of national data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) between 2002 and 2012. Women between 45 and 64 years old (nā€‰=ā€‰44,830) were interviewed, and reviews of corresponding office visits (nā€‰=ā€‰330,114) were undertaken.


In 2002, women aged 45-64 years (62%) went to a family or internal medicine physician only and this reached 72% in 2012. The percentage of women who went to an obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) only decreased from 20% in 2002 to 12% in 2012. Most went to a family physician or general internist for a general checkup or for diagnosis or treatment. By contrast, visits to ob-gyn physicians were predominantly for general checkups. Those who went to an ob-gyn office were more likely to have a higher family income, live in the Northeast, and describe their overall health as being excellent.


Women aged 45-64 years were substantially more likely to obtain care exclusively at offices of family physicians or general internists than of ob-gyn physicians. Overlap in care provided at more than one physician's office requires continued surveillance in minimizing redundant cost and optimizing resource utilization.


health maintenance; primary care; women's health

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