The National Ambulatory Care Survey (NAMCS): What’s New in 2012?

The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The NAMCS is designed to produce national estimates which describe the utilization of ambulatory medical care services in the United States.  Findings are based on a national probability sample of visits made by ambulatory patients to community health centers and nonfederal physicians who are in office-based practice and engaged primarily in direct patient care. The data provide insight into ambulatory medical care and stimulate further research on the use, organization, and delivery of ambulatory care.

NAMCS data are used by public health policy makers, health services researchers, government agencies, medical schools, physician associations, epidemiologists, and the print and broadcast media to describe and understand the changes that occur in medical care requirements and practices. The data are disseminated in the form of NCHS reports, journal articles, and downloadable data files. Previously, the NAMCS has provided only national-level estimates. For the first time starting in 2012, NAMCS poses a unique opportunity to produce state-level data as well as national and census divisional estimates. Moreover, your particular state is one among 34 of which NCHS will be able to provide state level estimates.  Below are a few highlights of the 2012 NAMCS survey:

  • Survey data will now be collected using a computerized instrument; which will simplify data collection activities and reduce data entry errors and omissions, thus improving data quality.
  • Sample size has been increased nearly five-fold to allow NAMCS to provide estimates for the top 34 most populated states in the United States.
  • Findings will allow physician offices and community health centers at the state level to baseline themselves against national estimates (including 9 Census divisions).

To learn more about NCHS, please visit our website. If you would like more information about NAMCS, check out this link.

See how NAMCS data is used:


Questions? Feel free to call our toll free number 1-800-392-2862.

About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

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