What Dr. Kiley Trott anticipates for otolaryngology long-term

Kiley Trott, MD, assistant professor of otolaryngology surgery at New Haven, Conn.-based Yale School of Medicine, shared his thoughts on the ENT field long-term, answering the question, "How do you think the specialty will look in 10 years?"

Note: Response has been lightly edited for style.

Dr. Kiley Trott: Given the events of the past year, it would probably be wise to avoid predictions altogether, so here's to being lucky or wrong.

Overall, I would like to think the future is bright for this specialty. Currently, we're in the midst of new resident recruitment, and it has been especially heartening to speak with some of the brightest and most talented medical students about the future of ENT as well as their personal goals. Many medical students nowadays bring diverse experiences, perspectives and skill sets, which, combined with the numerous incredible members of our specialty, should allow us to make gains on several fronts. Among those, I also foresee an increased focus on patient quality and safety and eliminating healthcare disparities.

Improvements in technology will be a major factor. Telemedicine will allow us to provide specialized care to more remote patients, potentially with another provider utilizing video otoscopes or endoscopes, providing real-time physical exam information to distant otolaryngologists.

Electronic medical records will continue to improve iteration on iteration, allowing for increased data tracking and medical outcome analysis, potentially across institutions. Surgical robotics will become even more refined, greatly improving surgical precision and expanding our ability to operate in the often small, complex, and difficult to reach regions of the head and neck. Lastly, there may be the development of new nerve stimulators similar to those currently in use for cochlear implantation to restore hearing and hypoglossal nerve stimulators to relieve sleep apnea. Research is being performed on vestibular (balance), olfactory (smell), and recurrent laryngeal (voice) nerve stimulators.

Those are just a few areas that will improve, but of course, given current events, we must be ready for the unexpected changes, both positive and negative, that the future may bring.


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