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The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)

Database Name: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS)

Data Source

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

Overview of data contents

NAMCS consists of a sample of visits to non-federal employed office-based physicians who are primarily engaged in direct patient care. Excludes anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology. Includes data on patients' symptoms, physicians' diagnoses, and medications ordered, as well as patient demographics, some services and diagnostic procedures provided, limited patient management, and planned future treatment.

Patient ages included

Patients of all ages.

Practice setting

Ambulatory care clinics.

Date range available

The survey was conducted annually from 1973 to 1981, in 1985, and annually since 1989.

Relevant Work

Example publications

Melissa A Pynnonen, Giant Lin, Rodney L Dunn, Brent K Hollenbeck. Use of Advanced Imaging Technology and Endoscopy for Chronic Rhinosinusitis by Physician Specialty. Am J Rhinol Allery. 2012 Nov-Dec;26(6):481-4

Smith WM, Davidson TM, Murphy C. Regional variations in chronic rhinosinusitis, 2003-2006. Otolayrn Head Neck Surg. 2009 Sep;141(3);347-52


Cost estimate(s)


Contact/website information

About Ambulatory Healthcare Surveys

Contact CDC-INFO

Phone: (301) 458-4600


Ease of use

Clean data, good for beginner programmer with knowledge of survey weights.

Data analysis

Downloadable data files are available for SAS, SPSS, and Stata. Survey weights are necessary. Individual patients or providers cannot be followed longitudinally.


Survey design and application of survey weights allows calculation of national estimates.


Limited amount of data that is clinically relevant to otolaryngology.