Trends in Seeing an Obstetrician–Gynecologist Compared With a General Physician Among U.S. Women, 2000–2015

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess trends in the percentage of U.S. women who visit an obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) and the percentage who visit a general physician (general practitioner, family medicine, and internist).

METHODS:

We used data from the 2000–2015 National Health Interview Surveys, cross-sectional nationally representative surveys, to identify the percentage of U.S. women who have visited an ob-gyn and the percentage who have visited a general physician during the preceding 12 months. Unadjusted percentages, and percentages adjusted for sociodemographic and health factors, were entered into joinpoint regressions to assess unadjusted and adjusted trends over time.

RESULTS:

The adjusted percentage of U.S. women who saw a general physician during the preceding 12 months did not significantly change from 2000 to 2015, ranging from 70.1% in 2007 to 74.2% in 2003 (P>.05 for trend). However, although the adjusted percentage that saw an ob-gyn in the preceding 12 months did not change from 2000 to 2003 or 2007–2011 (P>.05), it declined from 45.0% to 41.2% between 2003 and 2007 and from 41.8% to 38.4% between 2011 and 2015 (P<.001 for trends). The adjusted percentage that saw both an ob-gyn and a general physician was 32.4% in 2000, reaching as high as 35.2% in 2003, but then declined to 29.8% in 2015 (P<.001 for trend). Unadjusted results were similar.

CONCLUSION:

The percentage of women who visit an ob-gyn has declined since 2000. To assure high-quality and coordinated care, physicians should identify whether women see both health care provider types or only one to help assure that all recommended services are being offered.

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