People with type 2 diabetes vary greatly in their use of high-cost health care resources. We examined the association of anxiety with high-cost use after accounting for depression and medical comorbidity.
Using electronic health record data, we assessed past anxiety diagnosis, health care use and costs, demographics, comorbidities, and diabetes control status and complications during 2008–2012 for 143,573 adult members of an integrated health care system with type 2 diabetes. Multivariable regression models estimated associations between anxiety and emergency department (ED) use, total hospitalization costs, and high-cost status (i.e., incurring total health care costs in the top 20% among all system members).
During 2008–2011, 12.9% of participants received a diagnosis of anxiety, of whom 52.9% also had received a depression diagnosis. After adjustment for covariates including depression, anxiety was positively related to the number of ED visits in 2012 (incidence rate ratio 1.27; 95% CI 1.21, 1.34), the likelihood of visiting the ED on a chronic, frequent basis during 2010–2012 (odds ratio 2.55; 95% CI 1.90, 3.44), and high-cost status in 2012 (odds ratio 1.29; 95% CI 1.23, 1.36), but anxiety was not related to total hospitalization costs in 2012 (relative cost ratio 1.06; 95% CI 0.94, 1.21; P = 0.33).
Anxiety is highly comorbid with depression among individuals with type 2 diabetes and is independently associated with high-cost resource use. Strategies to improve anxiety management among people with diabetes hold the potential to also reduce health care costs.