New Chartbook Examines Health Care Utilization in America

Documents Major Trends and Shifts in Health Care

For Release: January 30, 2004

Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800


Health Care in America: Trends in Utilization [PDF – 3.3 MB]

A new report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics presents trends for the past decade in the utilization of health services across the spectrum of care, from ambulatory care, to hospitalization, to nursing home and home health and hospice care. The report tracks levels and patterns of use and examines aspects of the health care delivery system that influence health care utilization, such as developments in medical practice, new technologies, changes in payment and delivery systems, new health policy initiatives, and the aging of the U.S. population. Information is presented in easy-to-read charts accompanied by brief text which highlights key findings.

The report integrates data from all of the components of the National Health Care Survey (NHCS), a family of health care establishment and provider-based surveys conducted by NCHS. The NHCS documents and monitors health care provided in physicians’ office-based practice, hospital emergency and outpatient departments, short-stay hospitals, nursing homes and home health and hospice care agencies.

The report is organized around determinants of health care utilization (such as the aging of the U.S. population, supply of health care providers, and changes in technology); selected trends in the utilization of health care services (including ambulatory, inpatient and long term care services); and trends in utilization of procedures, drugs and health care outcomes. Within these major sections of the report, selected diagnoses and conditions (such as diabetes, cancer, ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD) are presented. Also highlighted are topics of interest to public health and health services researchers and policy makers such as injuries, medications ordered or provided during ambulatory care visits, preventive care services, and adverse effects following medical treatment.

The purpose of the chartbook is to provide an overview of health care utilization in America, as well as information to help understand utilization patterns in light of factors that affect the delivery of these services. “Health Care in America, Trends in Utilization” can be viewed and downloaded at the CDC/NCHS Web site.