Have there been incremental increases in health care utilization and expenditures for allergic rhinitis (AR) patients?
Background: AR, one of the most common and likely underdiagnosed conditions, has been studied for quality of life issues, but little has been studied regarding its economic and health care burdens.
Explore this issue:September 2011
Study design: Review of data from the 2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.
Setting: Division of Otolaryngology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Synopsis: Patients reporting a diagnosis of AR were extracted from the 2007 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey medical conditions file and linked to the consolidated expenditures file. AR patients were then compared to non-AR patients to determine differences in health care utilization (office visits, emergency facility visits, prescriptions filled) and in health care expenditures (total costs, office-based costs, prescription costs, self-expenditures).
The author found that patients with AR incurred approximately +3 additional office visits and a significant +9 additional prescription fills compared to those without AR. However, there was not a significant difference in emergency facility visits. A diagnosis of AR contributed substantially to increased costs in multiple areas, with an overall incremental increase in total health care expenditures of $1,492 per person per year.
Bottom line: AR is associated with substantial incremental increases in health care utilization and expenditures.
Citation: Bhattacharyya N. Incremental health care utilization and expenditures for allergic rhinitis in the United States. Laryngoscope. 2011;121(9):1830-1833.
—Reviewed by Sue Pondrom