Clinical Practice Guidelines: Whose Practice Are We Guiding?

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Abstract

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) has just released an update to the clinical practice guideline (CPG) on otitis media with effusion. This common condition is frequently managed by primary care providers; however, their awareness and utilization of the AAO-HNSF CPGs are unknown. We performed a cross-sectional survey to assess familiarity with otologic diagnoses, evaluation skills, and guidelines. Only 38.5% of respondents use pneumatic otoscopy, and roughly 50% utilize a CPG for management of otitis media or for referral for tympanostomy tube insertion. Providers predominantly use the acute otitis media guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In this single-institution study, providers are largely unaware of the AAO-HNSF CPGs and could benefit from additional training, including workshops taught by otolaryngologists within individual health care systems or development of a national otolaryngology medical student curriculum. A more immediate option includes referencing our CPGs on specialty societies’ websites or newsletters.

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