Management of Chronic Rhinosinusitis Prior to Otolaryngology Referral: An Opportunity for Quality Improvement

David W. Jang, Hui Jie Lee, Philip G. Chen, Seth M. Cohen, Charles D. Scales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: The management of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) by a nonotolaryngologist prior to otolaryngology referral is an important component of the patient care pathway. The purpose of this study is to characterize CRS management during this period and to identify areas of quality improvement. Study Design: Retrospective review of a national claims database. Setting: Academic institution. Methods: Data were analyzed from the IBM Health MarketScan Research Databases (2013-2017). Patients with 3-year enrollment data were identified who were initially diagnosed with CRS by a nonotolaryngologist and subsequently seen by an otolaryngologist. Management of CRS by the nonotolaryngologist was assessed in terms of duration, demographics, health care resource utilization, and health care expenditure. Results: A total of 51,273 patients met inclusion criteria. The median length of the referral period was 142 days, with variations according to geography. Patients with a delayed referral period had higher health care resource utilization in terms of visits for CRS (mean, 1.8 vs 1.2), total visits (mean, 12.6 vs 3.9), and medication prescriptions (especially antibiotics; mean, 5.8 vs 2.1). Health care expenditure was almost twice as high for the delayed referral group (mean, $986 vs $571), mainly due to CRS-related medication costs (mean, $578 vs $214). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that there are wide variations in how CRS is managed prior to referral to an otolaryngologist. The dissemination of clinical practice guidelines to primary care providers may help to increase efficiency of CRS care and offers a unique opportunity for quality improvement that extends beyond the bounds of our own specialty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-571
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (United States)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • chronic rhinosinusitis
  • primary care
  • referral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Management of Chronic Rhinosinusitis Prior to Otolaryngology Referral: An Opportunity for Quality Improvement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this