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Ask Dr. Sue - What Really Happens when Children Visit the Doctor?

by Susan S. Aronson, MD
May/June 1998
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/ask-dr.-sue-what-really-happens-when-children-visit-the-doctor/5012143/

Guidelines published in the last decade by federal agencies and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a long list of activities that should occur at each check-up visit. Doctors are complaining that added paperwork and cost cutting associated with managed care are making their job impossible. Despite the new pressures, recently released research evidence shows that the amount of time and extent of preventive services children receive at check-ups has increased over the past 16 years.

A team of prestigious health policy researchers from several leading medical institutions studied changes in practice patterns reported by child health physicians between 1979 and 1994. The data came from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys collected by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1979 to 1981, in 1985, and from 1989 to 1994. They studied over 58,000 office visits to a sample of about 2,000 physicians during the 16 year period.

The researchers found that children are seeing doctors more often for preventive care. More of these visits are to pediatricians (child health specialists) than to other physicians (family and general practitioners). Doctors reported that they gave counseling in a higher proportion of visits now than in the past - from 39.1% of visits in ...

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