Online and call center referral for endocrine surgical pathology within institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: We hypothesized that self-referred patients to academic centers will be equally distributed between general surgery and otolaryngology departments that perform thyroid surgery. We sought to quantify disparities in the assignment of these self-referred patients who may reach an institution through call centers or online pathways. Study design: Cross-sectional survey. Methods: Key words "thyroid surgery" and "thyroid cancer" were used along with the name of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-listed otolaryngology program in both Google and Bing search engines. The top three search results for departments were reviewed, and a tally was given to general surgery (GS), otolaryngology-head and neck surgery (OLHNS), or neither. A multidisciplinary center with both GS and OLHNS was recorded as "equitable." Telephone calls were tallied if they were directed to GS or OLHNS. Results: Out of 400 program tallies, 117 (29.25%) patients were directed to GS and 50 (12.5%) were directed to OLHNS. An additional 181 (45.25%) were directed to neither group ("neither") (P<.05). Fifty-two (13%) of the patients were referred to multidisciplinary groups ("equitable"). A telephone call survey had 62 patients (62%) assigned to a general surgeon, as opposed to 38 (38%) for OLHNS (P<.05). Five institutions offered a multidisciplinary group when searching with Bing, and 11 were found by searching with Google. Conclusions: There is not an equal distribution of self-referred patients with thyroid surgical pathology. It may be important to increase the online presence of OLHNS surgeons who perform thyroid surgery at academic medical institutions. Multidisciplinary centers focused on thyroid and parathyroid surgical disease represents one model of assigning self-referred patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Endocrine surgery
  • General surgery
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Online referrals
  • Otolaryngology
  • Self-referred

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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