To examine voice-related health care utilization of patients in the general medical community without otolaryngology evaluation and explore factors associated with prolonged voice-related health care.Study Design
Retrospective cohort analysis.Setting
Large, national administrative US claims database.Subjects and Methods
Patients with voice disorders per International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2012, seen by a general medical physician, and who did not see an otolaryngologist in the subsequent year were included. Voice-related health care utilization, patient demographics, comorbid conditions, and index laryngeal diagnosis were collected. Logistic regression with variable selection was performed to evaluate the association between predictors and ≥30 days of voice-related health care use.Results
In total, 46,205 unique voice-disordered patients met inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 8.5%, 10.0%, and 12.5% had voice-related health care use of ≥90, ≥60, and ≥30 days, respectively. Of the ≥30-day subset, 80.3% and 68.5%, respectively, had ≥60 and ≥90 days of voice-related health care utilization. The ≥30-day subset had more general medicine and nonotolaryngology specialty physician visits, more prescriptions and procedures, and 4 times the voice-related health care costs compared with those in the <30-day subset. Age, sex, employment status, initial voice disorder diagnosis, and comorbid conditions were related to ≥30 days of voice-related health care utilization.Conclusions
Thirty days of nonotolaryngology-based care for a voice disorder may represent a threshold beyond which patients are more likely to experience prolonged voice-related health care utilization. Specific factors were associated with extended voice-related health care.