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Seth Cohen, MD

Associate Professor of Surgery


What is your specific area of interest in health services?
My areas of interest involve examining the practice patterns involved in the evaluation and management of patients with voice and swallowing disorders and assessing the outcomes of patients with these varied conditions. In particular, I am interested in how different diagnostic evaluations and management strategies influence the health care utilization of patients with voice and swallowing disorders. I have used both patient reported outcomes measures as well as large longitudinal health care claims and databases, such as the Marketscan® datasets, to examine various practice patterns, their impact on health care costs, and how the practice patterns are influenced by factors such as provider type, geographic variation, age, gender, and patient diagnosis. 
What is an example of your best work in health services research?

An important evidence gap about the timing of primary care to otolaryngology referral for laryngoscopy (the cornerstone of diagnosing the specific voice disorder causing hoarseness) exists. I served as PI on a study in which my colleagues and I found that increased time from first primary care evaluation to first otolaryngology evaluation was associated with increased outpatient health care costs. Earlier otolaryngology examination may reduce the health care expenditures associated with the evaluation and management of patients with voice disorders.

In your opinion, what is an important health services research question that needs to be answered in the field of otolaryngology? 
Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a common condition that poses a significant public health concern due to complications such as weight loss, malnutrition, and aspiration pneumonia. Speech-language pathology (SLP) swallow evaluations have an essential role in managing dysphagic patients by determining the pathology and identifying opportunities for recovery and symptom improvement. Limited evidence exists from the real world setting about which dysphagic patients are at-risk for related complications and about how swallow evaluations with SLPs are implemented. There is a need to assess risk factors for complications related to dysphagia, understand disparities in access to swallowing evaluations with SLPs, and quantify the cost burden of dysphagia and its complications in real-world practice. 
Fun fact about Dr. Cohen!
I have a wife and 3 children, and in addition to family time, I enjoy travel, ethnic cuisine, tennis, and am teaching myself guitar through the internet.