Provider News

New Referral Guidelines and Algorithms for Otolaryngology

February 5, 2020

Seattle Children’s Otolaryngology website now includes a new “Refer a Patient” page with detailed guidelines and resources for PCPs about referring patients to Otolaryngology. It includes information about when to refer patients for conditions such as strep throat, ear infections, sinusitis (nasal drainage/rhinitis) and tonsillar hypertrophy and how to manage these conditions in primary care when that is the appropriate setting for care.

It includes the following nine new algorithms:

Patients referred for hypernasal resonance will be routed to the Childhood Communications Center at Seattle Children’s if they are age 3 or older. If they are under 3 years old, they will need a referral from our Speech and Language Services or another otolaryngologist, or their diagnosis must be already confirmed by Speech and Language Services or another otolaryngologist. If needed, Otolaryngology will route them to Speech and Language Services. Referring providers are welcome to refer there directly.

Patient access to Otolaryngology is good, with appointments available within two weeks for most patient populations at either our Seattle hospital or clinics in Everett or Bellevue.

Otolaryngology uses a team approach in clinic that partners nurse practitioners with physicians in order to provide timely access to specialty care for more patients. A patient’s first visit may be with a nurse practitioner; a physician is readily available for these appointments if needed.

Patients who have not been seen by Otolaryngology in the last three years will need a new referral before making an appointment. Otolaryngology sees patients through age 20.