The present study aimed to measure whether income, insurance status, race, and education affect tertiary rhinology care utilization.

All adult patients diagnosed with CRS by rhinologists at a single tertiary care hospital were identified. Patient characteristics 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.

One thousand three hundred forty-one unique patients with CRS 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 Davidson County’s population. Utilization rates were higher in ZIP codes with a lower proportion of minorities, a higher median income, and higher private insurance and college education rates. However, in the adjusted analysis, the only attainment of a college education was independently associated with utilizing tertiary rhinology services. 

The study concluded that some social determinants of health 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.