National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey


The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) is a national survey designed to collect information about ambulatory medical care services in the United States. Patient data is collected from physicians primarily engaged in direct patient care, excluding those in the specialties of anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology. The survey was conducted annually from 1973 to 1981, in 1985, and annually since 1989.

Information collected includes patients' symptoms, physicians' diagnoses, and medications ordered or provided. The survey also provides statistics on the demographic characteristics of patients and services provided, including information on diagnostic procedures, patient management, and planned future treatment. Survey years 1973-1991 have separate files for patient visit data and drug mention data; the drug mention file includes only those visits when medication therapy was mentioned. It is possible to link information from the drug file to the patient visit file for the 1991 data. Beginning with the 1992 survey year, only one data file is produced annually that contains both patient visit and drug information.

The NAMCS is sponsored by the National Center for Health Statistics. Data from the NAMCS are publicly available annually as publications, on public-use data tapes, data diskettes, CD-ROMs and downloadable files from the FTP server.

Selected References


Persky V, Davis F, Barrett R, Ruby E, Sailer C, Levy P. Recent time trends in uterine cancer. Am J Public Health. 1990 Aug;80(8):935-9.

Cost/Cost Effectiveness

Chen JG, Fleischer AB Jr, Smith ED, Kancler C, Goldman ND, Williford PM, Feldman SR. Cost of nonmelanoma skin cancer treatment in the United States. Dermatol Surg. 2001 Dec;27(12):1035-8.


Thorndike AN, Rigotti NA, Stafford RS, Singer DE. National patterns in the treatment of smokers by physicians. JAMA. 1998 Feb 25;279(8):604-8.

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