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More patients chose specialists over primary-care docs in 2013



It was probably just a matter of time before it happened, but 2013 may have marked the first year that office visits to specialty physicians outnumbered office visits to primary-care doctors.

The development was buried in a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics on how healthcare spending had risen after years of “self-rationing.” This included a 2.7% increase in visits to physician offices.

It was the first such increase in four years, and Murray Aitken, executive director of the Institute, said 51% of those visits were to specialists' offices, a slight increase from the 49% and 48% recorded in 2012 and 2011.“It's the crossing of a threshold, but it's not a dramatic one-year change,” Aitken said. “Our expectation is that it will continue to grow.”

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks

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