Recent publication of practice parameters for surgery in adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has set off another round of debate on the need for otolaryngologists to get involved in generating their own guidelines. Although otolaryngologists have yet to agree on whether or not the time is right for guidelines on surgical treatment for sleep apnea, consensus can be claimed regarding the need perceived by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) to get on the evidence-based bandwagon.
Explore this issue:December 2010
“As a specialty, it is very important that we work on developing a way of measuring outcomes that can be applied universally so we can work toward studies that will help us determine best practices,” said John Harwick, MD, an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a member of the AAO-HNS Sleep Disorders Committee.
Dr. Harwick’s remark points to what is perhaps the key challenge faced by otolaryngologists and other specialties in attempting to develop guidelines: the need to determine the most relevant outcomes and metrics by which to measure optimal diagnosis and treatment. Once metrics are determined, studies are needed to lay the foundation on which guidelines are developed.