A Guiding Principles Checklist for Otolaryngologic Surgery in the COVID-19 Era

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020 Jun 2;194599820933253. doi: 10.1177/0194599820933253. Online ahead of print.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on surgical workflows. There is an abundance of ever-changing information, and protocols are reflexively modified on a daily basis. As many otolaryngologic procedures are shown to have higher risk of viral transmission-so-called aerosol-generating procedures-it is imperative that multidisciplinary care teams be provided updated, timely, and consistent information. A single-page Guiding Principles surgical checklist was developed to discuss 7 key factors: patient information, staff wellness, risk minimization, prioritization, resource utilization, key society criteria, and communication. This was completed for every patient requiring otolaryngologic surgery and was distributed to the care teams involved. It provided the most information for those on the frontline and allowed for cogent pre-, intra-, and postoperative planning.

Keywords: COVID-19; communication; otolaryngology; quality improvement; safety checklist.