Telemedicine and Otolaryngology in the COVID-19 Era

Brandon K. Nguyen, Hafiah Z. Eltahir, Gregory L. Barinsky, Yu Lan Mary Ying, Wayne D. Hsueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The global Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in an expansion of telemedicine. The purpose of this study is to present our experience with outpatient telemedicine visits within a single institution’s Department of Otolaryngology during the initial COVID-19 era. Study Design: Retrospective chart review. Methods: This was a single-institution study conducted within the Department of Otolaryngology at an urban tertiary care center. Data on outpatient visits was obtained from billing and scheduling records from January 6 to May 28, 2020. Visits were divided into “pre-shutdown” and “post-shutdown” based on our state’s March 23, 2020 COVID-19 shutdown date. Results: A total of 3447 of 4340 (79.4%) scheduled visits were completed in the pre-shutdown period as compared to 1451 of 1713 (84.7%) in the post-shutdown period. The proportion of telemedicine visits increased (0.7%-81.2%, P <.001). Overall visit completion rate increased following the shutdown (80.2%-84.7%, P <.001). Subspecialties with an increase in visit completion rate were general (76.9%-88.0%, P =.002), otology (77.4%-87.2%, P <.001), and rhinology (80.0%-86.2%, P =.003). Patients with Medicaid and Medicare had higher appointment completion rates following the transition to telemedicine visits (80.7%-85.7%, P =.002; 76.9%-84.7%, P =.001). Older age was associated with decreased appointment cancellation pre-shutdown (OR 0.994 [0.991-0.997], P <.001) but increased appointment cancellation post-shutdown (OR 1.008 [1.001-1.014], P =.015). Mean COVID-19 risk scores were unchanged (P =.654). Conclusions: COVID-19 has led to major changes in outpatient practice, with a significant shift from in-person to telemedicine visits following the mandatory shutdown. An associated increase in appointment completion rates was observed, reflecting a promising viable alternative to meet patient needs during this unprecedented time.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)148-154
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


  • COVID-19
  • outpatient
  • practice patterns
  • telemedicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Telemedicine and Otolaryngology in the COVID-19 Era'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this