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Evaluation of Social Determinants of Health on Dysphagia Care Pathways at a Tertiary Care Facility.

Laryngoscope 2023 September 9
OBJECTIVES: Limited research exists evaluating the impact of social determinants of health in influencing care pathways for patients with dysphagia. A better understanding of whether these determinants correlate to altered care and resource utilization is essential as it relates to patient outcomes.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

METHODS: All adult patients seen at a tertiary midwestern hospital were screened for ICD codes of dysphagia diagnoses from 2009 to 2019. Demographic information was collected from these patients with dysphagia including sex, race, ethnicity, and insurance status. Subgroup analysis was performed to assess referral pattern rates and types of diagnostic interventions ordered (none, videofluoroscopic swallow study, esophagram, and esophagogastroduodenoscopy).

RESULTS: A total of 31,858 patients with dysphagia were seen at our institution during the study period, with a majority being female (56.36%), Caucasian (79.83%), and publicly insured (63.16%), at a median age of 60.35 years. There were no significant care delivery pattern differences based on geography/zip code analyses. African American patients were significantly more likely to have imaging or interventions performed (odds ratio [OR] 1.463, p = 0.005). Patients with public insurance also had higher rates of diagnostic study utilization (OR 1.53, p = 0.01). Only 3% of all patients with dysphagia were seen by laryngologists.

CONCLUSION: No significant differences were seen in dysphagia evaluation modalities based on zip code analyses surrounding this tertiary care facility. African American patients and those with public insurance had significantly higher utilization of subsequent testing and intervention for dysphagia care. Further studies are necessary to delineate causes and outcome differences for these measurable differences in dysphagia care pathways.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: IV Laryngoscope, 2023.

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