Erie Vital Signs

Availability and Utilization of Healthcare Services: Routine Checkups

Recent Performance

This trend is mixed or inconclusive.

In Erie County, the rate of adults who had not had a routine checkup in the past two years has fluctuated from 128 percent in both 1999 and 2001 to 16 percent in 2013*, but it is lower than the state rate of 17 percent and the national rate of 19 percent.

The Erie County residents most likely to have regular checkups include females, those who are 65 years or older, and those who earn $50,000 a year or more.

*2013 indicates data for the period 2011-13.

Note: Much of the data for the Health Indicators come from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey. Each metro area decides whether or not to participate each year, so these indicators often do not have data for every year for every metro area. As a result, the graphs show markers (dots, diamonds, etc.) for the individual years rather than lines. If there are data for consecutive years, the markers will be joined with a line on the graphs.

The Basics

This indicator reports the percentage of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey respondents who did NOT answer “within the past two years” to the survey question: About how long has it been since you last visited a doctor for a routine checkup?

A routine checkup is a general physical exam, not an exam for a specific injury, illness, or condition.

Why It's Important

By visiting a health care provider for regular health exams and tests, problems can be spotted early, so the chances for treatment and cure are better. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are managing your health to help increase your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other factors all affect what and how often you need healthcare.

The Details

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) is a telephone based health survey of adults age 18 and above. Both landline and cell phone users are included. Initiated in 1984 by the CDC, it is now administered nationally, statewide, regionally, and locally. The survey focuses on health care access, health conditions, risk behaviors, and preventive health practices. Standardized questions allow comparison among various population groups. For 2013, Erie County used 3-Year Sum County Level data, for years 2011-2013, which was provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Similar 3-Year Sum data for Pennsylvania was used for comparison.

The Nitty-Gritty Details


This EVS indicator has no subcategories. The raw data for Erie County do provide data for subcategories based on sex, age, education, income, and race.

Peer Areas

The BRFSS data are available for Erie, the state of Pennsylvania, and the United States. Data is also available for the following thirteen of the standard peer selected metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas (MMSAs): Akron OH, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ, Boulder CO, Cedar Rapids IA, Flint MI, Gainesville FL, Green Bay WI, Kalamazoo-Portage MI, Lansing-East Lansing MI, Laredo TX, Peoria IL, Roanoke VA, and Spartanburg SC.


Erie County completes a BRFSS every four to five years. The survey is administered every year at the state and national level.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey, administered by the Erie County Department of Health following guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pennsylvania Department of Health 3-Year Sum County Level data. Links to the data are given above under “All the Nitty-Gritty Details”.

Other Related Data

Additional Studies and Research

  • Americans Are Visiting the Doctor Less Frequently, Census Bureau Reports, United States Census Bureau, Census Report
  • Medical Checkups: Who Does Not Get Them? National Institute of Health, Who Is Not Getting Checkups
  • Regular Check-Ups Are Important, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Check-Up Importance

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