Chronic Cough: Characterizing and Quantifying Burden in Adults Using a Nationwide Electronic Health Records Database.

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DOI: 10.1007/s41666-023-00150-5


Chronic cough is a common condition; until recently, no International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code for chronic cough existed; therefore, the true scope and burden of chronic cough is unclear. Using established algorithms, we examined chronic cough patients and their risk profiles, recurrent cough episodes, and subsequent 1-year health care utilization in the nationwide Cerner EHR data resource, compared with those with acute cough. An ICD-based algorithm was applied to the Cerner Health Facts EHR database to derive a phenotype of chronic cough defined as three ICD-based "cough" encounters 14-days apart over a 56-to-120-day period from 2015 to 2017. Demographics, comorbidities, and outcomes (1-year outpatient, emergency, and inpatient encounters) were collected for the chronic cough cohort and acute cough cohort. The chronic cough cohort was 61.5% female, 70.4% white, and 15.2% African American, with 13.7% being of Asian, Native American, or unknown race. Compared with the acute cough cohort, chronic cough patients were more likely to be older, female, and have chronic pulmonary disease, obesity, and depression. Predictors of recurrent chronic cough were older age and race. Those with chronic cough had more outpatient (2.48 ± 2.10 vs. 1.48 ± 0.99; SMD = 0.94), emergency (1.90 ± 2.26 vs. 1.23 ± 0.68; SMD = 0.82), and inpatient (1.11 ± 0.36 vs. 1.05 ± 0.24, SMD = 0.24) encounters compared with acute cough. While EHR-based data may provide a useful resource to identify chronic cough phenotypes, supplementary data approaches and screening methods for chronic cough can further identify the scope of the problem.

Journal Title

J Healthc Inform Res





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Chronic cough; Clinical encounters; Clinical phenotype; Electronic health record; International classification of diseases

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