Thursday, August 2, 2007

Visits to Primary Care Physicians


A student is looking for "MOST FREQUENT REASONS FOR VISITS TO THE OFFICES OF PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS". He has data from the US, but is looking for data from Canada.

I dug around a bit, and found the Health Services Access Survey (HSAS) (Survey number 5002). CANSIM Table 105-3041 makes use of this survey, but collapses the detail contained in the survey. It appears, as well, that this survey focuses on visits to 'specialists' rather than 'primary care physicians'.

The kinds of 'reasons for visits' the researcher found for the US data include:
(rate per 1000)
general medical examination 83.84
cough 56.16
sore throat 34.80
well baby examination 34.56
follow-up visit 29.69
fever 28.40
earache 21.80
hypertension 21.20
head cold, upper respiratory infection 19.20
skin rash 18.66
nasal congestion 17.78
back pain, ache, discomfort 17.63
blood pressure check 16.63
headache 16.10

I have checked the CCHS, and related surveys, as well as looking at CIHI and CIHR web sites, to no avail. There are a couple of articles in "Health Reports", but these lack the detail of the US data.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?


Our Special Surveys Division appears to have conducted a survey called the "Canadian Survey of Experiences with Primary Health Care (CSE-PHC)" on behalf of the Health Council of Canada
The content of its questionnaire
leads me to think that it doesn't have the level of detail your student requires. It is has been released as a master file through the Research Data Centres, but a PUMF will not be released.

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