Office visits declined from 2009 to 2010

July 25, 2011

Physicians saw patients less often last year, and fewer patients began drug therapy for chronic conditions, according to a report.

Physicians saw patients less often last year, and fewer patients began drug therapy for chronic conditions, according to an annual report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

The snapshot of American healthcare in 2010 found that patient office visits declined by 4.2% from mid-2009 through 2010. The decline followed a leveling off in the number of visits from mid-2008 to mid-2009.

The fewer visits probably were the result of higher unemployment, rising healthcare costs, and loss of health insurance, the study authors speculate.

Spending on medicine exceeded $307 billion last year, an increase of 2.3%-less than half the increase in 2009. The study attributed the lower rate to increased use of generics and lower volume.

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