05 Jan 2021
Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; - :
The meteoric rise of telemedicine early in the COVID-19 pandemic might easily be mistaken for an ephemeral trend-one reaching its zenith in a moment of crisis. To the contrary, momentum has been mounting for telehealth over decades. The recent increase in telecare reveals its potential to deliver efficient, patient-centered, high-quality care in an increasingly technology-dependent landscape. Prior to COVID-19, surgeons lagged behind medical counterparts in embracing telemedicine; however, the pragmatic imperatives for remote care of patients and changes to Medicare removed key barriers to adoption. Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery has innovated across subspecialties, leading in COVID-19 scholarship and year-over-year publications on telemedicine. Yet, improved access to subspecialists is tempered by a digital divide that threatens to exacerbate disparities. Otolaryngology is poised to lead the transformation of procedural specialties while ensuring equitable care.