HumanInsight A retrospective cohort study of telephone versus face-to-face clinics for the management of new otology referrals
Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2022 Sep 15. doi: 10.1007/s00405-022-07653-8. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: To compare outcomes of telephone and face-to-face consultations for new otology referrals and discuss the wider use of telemedicine in otology.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort study including new adult otology referrals to our unit, sampled consecutively between March 2021 and May 2021, seen in either a face-to-face or telephone clinic. Primary outcome measure was the proportion of patients with a definitive management outcome (discharged or added to waiting list for treatment) versus the proportion of patients requiring follow-up for further assessment or review.
RESULTS: 150 new patients referred for a routine otology consultation (75 telephone, 75 face-to-face) were included. 53/75 patients (71%) undergoing a face-to-face consultation received a definitive outcome following initial review, versus 22/75 (29%) telephone patients (χ2 < 0.001, OR 5.8). 52/75 (69%) telephone patients were followed up face-to-face for examination. The mean (SD) number of appointments required to reach a definitive outcome was 1.22 (0.58) and 1.75 (0.73) in the face-to-face and telephone cohorts, respectively (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Telephone clinics in otology have played an important role as part of the COVID19 response. However, they are currently limited by a lack of clinical examination and audiometry. Remote assessment pathways in otology that incorporate asynchronous review of recorded examinations alongside audiometry, either conventional or boothless, may mitigate this problem; however, further research is required.
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