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This study used the most recent national data on epilepsy from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to examine the distribution of types of provider visits in the last 12 months among 2.9 million adult respondents aged ≥18 years with active epilepsy (self-reported doctor-diagnosed epilepsy taking antiseizure medications and/or having ≥1 seizure in the past year) and compared these estimates with 2010 NHIS data. We calculated age-standardized percentages of visits to a general doctor and an epilepsy specialist during the past 12 months, accounting for the complex survey design. Among US adults with active epilepsy in 2017, 27.1% saw a general doctor only, 9.0% saw a neurologist/epilepsy specialist only, 53.0% visited both a general doctor and a neurologist/epilepsy specialist, and 11.4% did not see either a general doctor or a neurologist/specialist. Overall, 62.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 55.2%-67.5%] of adults with active epilepsy visited a neurologist or epilepsy specialist in the past year. A visit in the past 12 months with both provider types was not significantly different in 2017 compared with 2010 (53.0% vs 46.2%) while seeing a general doctor only had declined (41.8% vs 27.1%, p < 0.05). Given that 79.8% of US adults with active epilepsy reported being seen by a general doctor within the past 12 months, epilepsy stakeholders have an opportunity to enhance epilepsy care by ensuring that general practitioners have access to the latest information about epilepsy diagnosis and new treatment options. National Health Interview Survey data can be used to track the distribution of provider visits in the coming decade to assess changes in access to primary care, specialty care, or other types of healthcare for people with epilepsy. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Rosemarie Kobau, Sanjeeb Sapkota, Page B Pennell, Janet B Croft. Epilepsy by the numbers - From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Six in 10 adults with active epilepsy saw a neurologist or epilepsy specialist in the past year, United States, 2017. Epilepsy & behavior : E&B. 2020 Nov;112:107348

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PMID: 32755817

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