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February 19, 1997

Women's Health: The Commonwealth Fund Survey

Author Affiliations

The Cambridge Hospital Harvard Medical School Cambridge, Mass

JAMA. 1997;277(7):599. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540310097044

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Most of the recent surge in attention to women's health has focused on our breasts and genitalia. But in fact, most of health care is a "woman thing." Women account for about two thirds of adult outpatient visits, inpatient stays, home care episodes, and nursing home residents. Women play an even larger role in providing care. Seventy-eight percent of health care workers are female, as are 75% of the 7 million people who provide unpaid care at home for disabled family members and friends. Of these unpaid caregivers, 80% devote more than 28 hours per week to the task. And surely mothers and grandmothers most often accompany children to the doctor and stay with them when they're too sick to attend school.

Women's Health: The Commonwealth Fund Survey pays attention to the many facets of women's experience as patients, though it largely omits women's roles as caregivers. This multiauthored book