Management of Chronic Rhinosinusitis Prior to Otolaryngology Referral: An Opportunity for Quality Improvement.
OBJECTIVE: The management of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) by a nonotolaryngologist prior to otolaryngology referral is an important component of the patient care pathway. The purpose of this study is to characterize CRS management during this period and to identify areas of quality improvement. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective review of a national claims database. SETTING: Academic institution. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the IBM Health MarketScan Research Databases (2013-2017). Patients with 3-year enrollment data were identified who were initially diagnosed with CRS by a nonotolaryngologist and subsequently seen by an otolaryngologist. Management of CRS by the nonotolaryngologist was assessed in terms of duration, demographics, health care resource utilization, and health care expenditure. RESULTS: A total of 51,273 patients met inclusion criteria. The median length of the referral period was 142 days, with variations according to geography. Patients with a delayed referral period had higher health care resource utilization in terms of visits for CRS (mean, 1.8 vs 1.2), total visits (mean, 12.6 vs 3.9), and medication prescriptions (especially antibiotics; mean, 5.8 vs 2.1). Health care expenditure was almost twice as high for the delayed referral group (mean, $986 vs $571), mainly due to CRS-related medication costs (mean, $578 vs $214). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that there are wide variations in how CRS is managed prior to referral to an otolaryngologist. The dissemination of clinical practice guidelines to primary care providers may help to increase efficiency of CRS care and offers a unique opportunity for quality improvement that extends beyond the bounds of our own specialty.
Jang, DW; Lee, H-J; Chen, PG; Cohen, SM; Scales, CD
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