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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-72

The value of an ENT specialist outreach service in a Family Medicine Unit for the urban poor in India


1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, USA
3 Department of Family Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Mary John
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.184626

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Objectives: To assess the function of an otolaryngology (ENT) specialist outreach service in a Family Medicine (FM) Unit for the urban poor attached to a Tertiary Teaching Hospital in India. Materials and Methods: The study investigated the pattern of ENT diseases in patients who came to the FM Unit and the proportion of these patients who were referred to the ENT specialist clinic at the unit. The study also analyzed the ENT problems that were managed by the ENT specialist at the unit and the conditions, which needed referral to the Tertiary Hospital. Data was collected by chart review. Setting: Weekly ENT specialist outreach service in an FM Unit for the urban poor in India attached to a Tertiary Teaching Hospital. Results: Among the outpatients who attended the unit in 12 months, 12.89% had ENT-related problems, of which 23.9% were referred to the visiting ENT specialist, 88.30% of these patients were managed in the FM Unit with basic ENT facilities. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that majority of the patients with ENT-related problems who presented to an FM Unit could be managed by the FM specialists. Of those patients who required the expertise of a specialist in ENT, the majority could be managed in the FM Unit, with basic ENT examination and treatment facilities. Triage and management by the family physician and the visiting ENT surgeon in the FM Unit is a prudent use of resources and will improve the quality of care people receive for their ENT problems.


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