A Report on the Use of Telehealth in Otolaryngology in the Pre COVID-19 Era

James C. Wang, Nora C. Elson, Madison V. Epperson, Charles R. Doarn, Mekibib Altaye, Meredith E. Tabangin, Reena Dhanda Patil, Yash J. Patil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the integration of and barriers to the utilization of telehealth technology and its components (telemedicine, e-Health, m-health) in daily otolaryngologic practice before the SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at a tertiary academic center. A national survey of members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery was administered. Descriptive analyses were performed to determine how telehealth was employed in otolaryngologists' practices. Results: A total of 184 surveys were completed. Telehealth technology was used by 50% of otolaryngologists surveyed. Regions with the largest percentage of physicians using telehealth were the Mid-Atlantic region (84%) and West Coast (67%). Most otolaryngologists indicated that they were familiar with telehealth or any of its components and how it is used in practice (52-83%), they had heard of telehealth or any of its components but were unsure what the terms specifically entailed (17-42%); 53% were satisfied with their current use of telehealth and electronic medical record (EMR); and 72% were comfortable utilizing smart devices for patient care. Most otolaryngologists (65%) indicated reimbursement as the biggest limitation to implementing telehealth, and 67% believed that typing was a hindrance to EMR utility. Conclusion: Half of the surveyed otolaryngologists used some form of telehealth at the time of the survey. The most commonly cited obstacle to physician adoption of telehealth was reimbursement. Although the adoption of telehealth technology was still limited in the field of otolaryngology based on this study, we are now seeing significant change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-343
Number of pages10
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • e-health
  • reimbursement
  • surveys and questionnaires
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics


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