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Authors Samuelson MB, Chandra RK, Turner JH, Russell PT, Francis DO
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Journal Am J Rhinol Allergy Volume: 31 Issue: 6 Pages: 376-381
Publish Date 2017 Nov 01
PubMed ID 29122082
PMC ID 5691238

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) has a high prevalence and significant cost and quality of life implications. Many types of practitioners care for patients with rhinosinusitis; however, patients with chronic or complicated conditions are often referred for tertiary rhinology services. It is unclear how social determinants of health affect access and utilization of these services. A better understanding of social barriers to tertiary rhinology care is needed to reduce health care disparities and improve health outcomes. The aim of the present study was to measure whether income, insurance status, race, and education affect utilization of tertiary rhinology care.All adult patients diagnosed with CRS by rhinologists at a single tertiary care hospital were identified (2010-2014). Patient characteristics (age, gender, race, insurance status) were compared with population-level data from the hospital and from Davidson County, Tennessee, which includes Nashville. Rhinology utilization rates were calculated for each ZIP code within the county. The association between determinants of health (race, insurance status, education, median income) and tertiary rhinology utilization were measured by using multivariable regression analyses.A total of 1341 unique patients with CRS (median age, 50 years; 55% women, 80% white, 82% with private insurance) from Davidson County used tertiary rhinology services. These patients were significantly older and more likely to be female, white, and privately insured than patients seen hospital-wide or among the population of Davidson County (p < 0.001). Utilization rates were higher in ZIP codes with a lower proportion of minorities, a higher median income, and higher rates of private insurance and college education. However, in adjusted analysis, only attainment of a college education was independently associated with utilization of tertiary rhinology services. Utilization was 4% higher for every 1% increase in college-educated population (coefficient 0.04 [95% CI, 0.01-0.07]; p = 0.01).Results of this study indicated that some social determinants of health (race, income, educational level, insurance status) do affect utilization of tertiary rhinology services. Higher utilization among those with higher income and educational attainment are contradictory to the data, which indicated that lower socioeconomic status was associated with a higher CRS rate. Further study is required to understand the disparities in rhinology utilization rates.

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