Explore this issue:September 2012
A (Virtual) Team Effort
Community-based otolaryngologists can create strong networks with specialist colleagues to establish a virtual team approach for the effective treatment of their facial paralysis patients. For example, suggested Dr. Tollefson, collaboration with one’s ophthalmology and neurology colleagues contributes to good management of eye issues and discernment of neurological causes, respectively.
Another potential resource is using telemedicine to link clinicians in rural areas to academic multidisciplinary centers or using an online discussion group to guide treatment, such as the one sponsored by the Sir Charles Bell Society. Krishna Patel, MD, PhD, director for facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, said that complex cases often require multidisciplinary treatment that can be consolidated in tertiary care hospitals. In those cases, however, patients can continue treatments initiated at the center, such as physical therapy, at home.
Communication can foster good follow-up care after the initial referral consult. “I am in constant communication with some of my patients’ ophthalmologists,” she said.