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Had office visit to health professional, past 2 weeks

Codes and Frequencies

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DOCVIS2W indicates whether the person had an office visit with a doctor or health professional during the past 2 weeks. DOCVIS2W reports the responses to the question, "During those 2 weeks, did [person] see a doctor or other health care professional at a doctor's office, a clinic, an emergency room, or some other place?" The interviewer specifically instructed the person to "not include times during an overnight hospital stay" and, in 1997-2000, to "exclude any baby born during interview week." For questions concerning health care (including the question associated with DOCVIS2W), respondents were instructed not to include "dental care."

The number of visits to a doctor or other health care professional during the past 2 weeks is reported in DOCVIS2WNO.


The Survey Instruments for 1997 forward broadly defined medical doctor to include "dermatologists, psychiatrists, ophthalmologists, and general practitioners" and defined health professional to include "nurses, physical therapists, and chiropractors."

The Field Representative's Manuals for 1997 forward contained very detailed criteria for determining whether a given contact with a health care provider counted as a doctor visit.


Inclusion criteria for a visit were:

  • A visit by or for the person to the doctor or doctor's assistant for the purpose of obtaining medical advice, treatment, testing, or examination. For example, if a mother visits the doctor about her child, count this as a doctor visit for the child.
  • A visit to a doctor's office, clinic, hospital emergency room, or outpatient department of a hospital where a person goes for treatment or examinations even though a doctor may not actually be seen or talked to.
  • A visit by the doctor or doctor's assistant to the person. If the doctor or doctor's assistant visits the home to see one patient and while there examines or professionally advises another member of the household, count this as a "doctor visit" for each individual receiving the doctor's or assistant's attention.
  • Telephone calls to or from a doctor or assistant for the purpose of discussing the health of the person. Include calls to or from a doctor or assistant for obtaining or renewing a prescription or calls to obtain the results of tests or X-rays. Count the telephone call as a doctor visit for the person about whom the call was made. For example, if the wife calls the doctor about her husband's illness because he is too ill to call himself, count the call for the husband, not the wife.
  • Medical advice obtained from any nonhousehold member (related or not) who is a doctor, even if this is done on an informal basis.
  • Laboratory visits.
  • Physicals for athletes or the U.S. Armed Services.
  • Visits to a nurse at work or school unless such visits were mass visits. For example, include an individual visit, but exclude visits by all or many persons for the same purpose, such as for TB tests, hearing exams, etc.
Exclusion criteria for a visit were:

  • Visits made by a doctor or assistant while the person was an overnight patient in the hospital.
  • Visits for shots or examinations (such as X-rays) administered on a mass basis. If it is reported that the person went to a clinic, a mobile unit, or some similar place to receive an immunization, a chest X-ray, or a certain diagnostic procedure which was being administered identically to all persons who were at the place for this purpose, do not count this as a doctor visit. Do not include immunizations or examinations administered to children in schools on a mass basis as doctor visits. (Physicals for athletes or the U.S. Armed Services are NOT considered mass visits; count these as doctor visits.)
  • Telephone calls made between a pharmacist and a doctor to obtain, renew, or verify prescriptions or calls made between the person and a pharmacist. Also EXCLUDE calls for appointments, inquiries about a bill, and other topics not directly related to the person's health, and calls that are connected to a recording.
  • Visits to dentists or oral surgeons.
  • Self-treatment or medical advice prescribed for one's self.
  • Medical advice or treatment given at home by a related household member who is a doctor.


The meaning of this variable is comparable over time; however, the universe for this question changed in 1997 from "all persons who reported any doctor's visit in the last two weeks" to "all persons. Users should use caution when comparing data from before and after this change.


  • 1967-1996: All persons who reported any doctor's visit in the last two weeks
  • 1997-2018: All persons.


  • 1967-2018