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Impact of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on longitudinal healthcare utilization in a community-based cohort of patients

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a rare, chronic lung disease associated with substantial symptom burden, morbidity, and cost. Delivery of high-quality effective care in IPF requires understanding health-care resource utilization (HRU) patterns; however, longitudinal data from real-world populations are limited. This study aimed to define HRU attributable to IPF by evaluating a longitudinal cohort of community patients with IPF compared with matched control subjects. Incident IPF cases were identified in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California electronic health records (2000-2015) using case-validated code-based algorithms. IPF cases were compared with matched control subjects by age, sex, and length of enrollment. Annual rates of HRU measures were assessed during the 5 years pre- and postdiagnosis. Poisson generalized estimating equations were used to estimate adjusted case-control differences in HRU. IPF treatment trends were assessed before and after the availability of IPF-specific medications. A total of 691 IPF cases were identified and matched with 3,452 control subjects. Adjusted rates of all diagnostic procedures were significantly increased (P < .001) for IPF cases compared with control subjects in both the pre- and postindex periods, including chest CT scans (pre-relative risk [RR], 80.35; post-RR, 32.79), 6-min walk tests (pre-RR, 20.81; post-RR, 34.49), and pulmonary function tests (pre-RR, 9.50; post-RR, 13.24). All-cause hospitalizations (pre-RR, 1.42; post-RR, 2.33) and outpatient visits (pre-RR, 1.22; post-RR, 1.80) were significantly higher among cases compared with control subjects during both the preindex (P < .05) and postindex (P < .001) periods. We observed use of immunosuppressive and IPF-specific therapies prior to diagnosis, and high rates of corticosteroid use before and after diagnosis. This study defines a marked increase in HRU in patients with IPF compared with control subjects, with accelerated use beginning at least 1 year prediagnosis and elevated use sustained over the following 5 years. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate longitudinal medication trends in IPF. Collectively, this information is foundational to advancing IPF care delivery models and supporting clinical decision-making.

Authors: Farrand E; Iribarren C; Vittinghoff E; Levine-Hall T; Ley B; Minowada G; Collard HR

Chest. 2021 01;159(1):219-227. Epub 2020-07-24.

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