Practice Patterns of Sleep Otolaryngologists at Training Institutions in the United States

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the practice characteristics of adult sleep otolaryngologists within US otolaryngology residency training programs.

Study Design

Cross-sectional online survey.

Setting

Otolaryngology residency training programs.

Subjects and Methods

Program directors from 106 otolaryngology training programs in the United States were contacted. Program directors were instructed to forward a survey to otolaryngologists within the institution who provided Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Otolaryngology Milestone Project feedback in “sleep-disordered breathing.” The survey assessed demographics, nonsurgical practices, and surgical/procedural practices of adult sleep otolaryngologists. Data were collected and analyzed.

Results

Forty-six surveys met inclusion criteria, representing 40 of 106 (38%) programs. Ninety-three percent of respondents reported that residents gained a significant portion of their sleep medicine training from themselves (ie, the respondents), yet only 36% of respondents spent ≥50% of their time on sleep medicine/surgery. Forty-one percent reported being board certified in sleep, with 18% having completed an ACGME fellowship in sleep medicine. Respondents with board certification were more likely to spend greater portions of their practice on sleep medicine/surgery, χ2(3, n = 44) = 23.161 (P < .001), treat non–obstructive sleep apnea sleep disorders (13 of 18 vs 1 of 26, P < .001), interpret polysomnograms (13 of 17 vs 1 of 15, P < .001), and perform drug-induced sleep endoscopy, χ2(1, n = 43) = 5.43, (P = .02). A similar pattern was seen with stratification by ACGME sleep medicine fellowship.

Conclusion

This study highlights the variance in practice patterns among sleep otolaryngologists who instruct residents. Board certification and fellowship training in sleep medicine significantly influence breadth of trainee exposure to this field. The highly disparate trainee experiences to sleep otolaryngology across US programs require attention.

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