Utilization of Health Services in Physician Offices and Outpatient Clinics (2010)

The article examines how adolescents and young women, ages 9-26 years old, use general and reproductive health services.  This article uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau, NAMCS (National Ambulatory Care Survey) and NHAMCS (National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey).

  • 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 for reproductive health services peaked at 53% of 7.5 million physician visits at ages 20–21 years.
  • This study found that a larger proportion of visits to the outpatient clinics were made by young black women than by white women and women of color are at increased risk of STDs, unintended pregnancy and etc.  It is essential that these outpatient clinics provide convenient, comprehensive and quality sexual health services.
  • The proportion of visits made by women to family and general practitioners and to general medicine clinics was fairly constant over the range of ages studied.  It is important that these provides have resources and training to help focus their attention to women’s reproductive health.
  • Obstetrician-gynecologists and family practitioners are able to provide continuity of care throughout patients’ reproductive years and have the greatest expertise and experience in addressing reproductive healthcare needs.  They are good choice for reproductive health visits.

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.

Citation: Hoover, K.M., Tao, G., & Kent, C.K. (2010). Utilization of health services in physician offices and outpatient clinics by adolescents and young women in the United States: Implication for improving access to reproductive health services. Journal of Adolescent Health. Vol. 46., No. 4. p. 324-330.

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