Otorhinolaryngology Out-Patient Practice in the “Post”-COVID-19 Era: Ensuring a Balance Between Service and Safety
Objective: To review available resources and provide evidence-based recommendations that may optimize otorhinolaryngologic out-patient health care delivery in the “post”-COVID-19 era while ensuring the safety of our patients, healthcare workers and staff.
Data Sources: Relevant peer-reviewed journal articles; task force, organizational and institutional, government and non-government organization recommendations; published guidelines from medical, health-related, and scientific organizations.
Methods: A comprehensive review of the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertained to “post”-COVID 19 out-patient otorhinolaryngologic practice was obtained from peer-reviewed articles, guidelines, recommendations, and statements that were identified through a structured search of the data sources for relevant literature utilizing MEDLINE (through PubMed and PubMed Central PMC), Google (and Google Scholar), HERDIN Plus, the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Library, and grey literature including social media (blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook). In-patient management (including ORL surgical procedures such as tracheostomy) were excluded. Retrieved material was critically appraised and organized according to five discussion themes: physical office set-up, patient processing, personal protection, procedures, and prevention and health-promotion.
Conclusion: These recommendations are consistent with the best available evidence to date, and are globally acceptable while being locally applicable. They address the concerns of otorhinolaryngologists and related specialists about resuming office practice during the “post”-COVID-19 period when strict quarantines are gradually lifted and a transition to the “new” normal is made despite the unavailability of a specific vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. While they target practice settings in the Philippines, they should be useful to ENT (ear, nose & throat) surgeons in other countries in ensuring a balance between service and safety as we continue to serve our patients during these challenging times.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; otorhinolaryngology; otolaryngology head and neck surgery;
ENT; out-patient practice; clinic practice.
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