A need for otolaryngology education among primary care providers

Med Educ Online. 2012;17:17350. doi: 10.3402/meo.v17i0.17350. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Objective: Otolaryngic disorders are very common in primary care, comprising 20-50% of presenting complaints to a primary care provider. There is limited otolaryngology training in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education for primary care. Continuing medical education may be the next opportunity to train our primary care providers (PCPs). The objective of this study was to assess the otolaryngology knowledge of a group of PCPs attending an otolaryngology update course.

Methods: PCPs enrolled in an otolaryngology update course completed a web-based anonymous survey on demographics and a pre-course knowledge test. This test was composed of 12 multiple choice questions with five options each. At the end of the course, they were asked to evaluate the usefulness of the course for their clinical practice.

Results: Thirty seven (74%) PCPs completed the survey. Mean knowledge test score out of a maximum score of 12 was 4.0±1.7 (33.3±14.0%). Sorted by area of specialty, the mean scores out of a maximum score of 12 were: family medicine 4.6±2.1 (38.3±17.3%), pediatric medicine 4.2±0.8 (35.0±7.0%), other (e.g., dentistry, emergency medicine) 4.2±2.0 (34.6±17.0%), and adult medicine 3.9±2.1 (32.3±17.5%). Ninety one percent of respondents would attend the course again.

Conclusion: There is a low level of otolaryngology knowledge among PCPs attending an otolaryngology update course. There is a need for otolaryngology education among PCPs.

Keywords: continuing medical education; primary care providers.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical, Continuing*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Otolaryngology / education*
  • Physicians, Primary Care / education*