ATLANTA According to new health care statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, patients in the United States made an estimated 1.1 billion visits to physician offices and hospital outpatient and emergency departments in 2006. This is an average of four visits per person per year.
The data come from various components of CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics National Health Care Survey. Some of the findings include:
- In 2006, seven out of 10 visits had at least one medication provided, prescribed, or continued, for a total of 2.6 billion medications overall. Analgesics (pain relievers) were the most common, accounting for 13.6 percent of all drugs prescribed, and were most often used during primary care and emergency department visit.
- The rate of coronary atherosclerosis (clogged heart arteries) more than doubled during the 1990s but since 2002 declined for all age groups, particularly for those 65 years and over.
- Between 1996 and 2006, the percentage of visits to hospital outpatient departments made by adults 18 years and over with chronic diabetes increased by 43 percent and visits with chronic high blood pressure increased by 51 percent.