The Impact of Referral Source on Voice Therapy

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Adherence to voice therapy is essential in achieving successful voice outcomes. Previous studies within the field of voice therapy have suggested that shorter wait times and utilization of an interprofessional practice (IPP) model of care have a positive effect on voice therapy completion rates. While the implementation of IPP has gained popularity, especially at academic voice centers, the majority of speech-language pathologists (SLP) practice in a traditional (T) setting where they are unaffiliated with the referring otolaryngologist. Purpose: This study aims to further examine how SLP practice models (interprofessional vs traditional) affect voice therapy initiation and completion rates. The secondary aim is to determine if voice therapy attendance rates have changed since the authors’ initial investigations over 10 years ago. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 452 patients was conducted. Data was collected on patient demographics (sex, age), diagnosis, severity of dysphonia (CAPE-V), quality of life impact (V-RQOL raw score), practice setting (IPP vs T), date of referral, date of voice therapy initial evaluation, number of therapy sessions completed, and attendance to therapy sessions defined as completion or dropout. Results/Conclusions: Initiation of voice therapy treatment was the point in the referral process that was most impacted by practice model. Over half (53%) of referrals to voice therapy in a traditional practice model did not lead to initiation of treatment, while only 23% of the referrals taking place in an IPP model failed to initiate (P < 0.001). This study also demonstrated an improving, but continued rate of noninitiation and dropout from voice therapy when compared to data that was collected 10 years prior.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Journal of Voice  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rivers NJ; Maira C; Wise J; Hapner ER