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April 22, 2015

The Longer Hoarseness Lasts, the More Expensive it Becomes to Treat

It is generally accepted that if a voice is hoarse for over 2 weeks, an ENT evaluation is recommended.  The main concern is whether there is something more serious going on that would require specialist treatment whether it be unusual medications or even surgery.

Researchers have also found out that patients who see an ENT after 3 weeks of hoarseness also pay substantially more money than if they had seen an ENT earlier. The longer patients wait, the more expensive it becomes to correct the problem.

Based on 260,095 unique patients who initially saw a primary care doctor for hoarseness, 8999 (3.5%) subsequently saw an otolaryngologist with 6 months post-ENT follow-up data. Statistical analysis revealed that compared with patients who saw an ENT ≤1 month after the first primary care visit, patients in the 1-3 months period paid a mean cost of $271.34 more.

Those patients who saw an ENT 3+ months after initial doctor visit had relative mean cost increase of $711.38.

Saw not only from a health perspective, but from a cost perspective, it is worthwhile to see an ENT sooner rather than later.

Click here for more information about the hoarse voice.

Reference:
Delayed otolaryngology referral for voice disorders increases health care costs. Am J Med. 2015 Apr;128(4):426.e11-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.10.040. Epub 2014 Nov 18.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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