A needs assessment was conducted to determine what family doctors need to know about otolaryngology. A survey was mailed to a group of community otolaryngologists and family doctors. They were asked to rate the importance of 46 otolaryngologic topics. A true needs assessment was carried out with a small group of family practice residents to examine which needs were perceived to be significantly different in importance between these 2 survey groups. A list of important topics was generated from the survey. There were many statistically significant differences between the survey groups, but only 2, vertigo and epistaxis, appeared to be potentially important. The family practice residents (n = 8) were asked to complete a short-answer test about epistaxis management and then to demonstrate placement of an anterior nasal pack. Despite having already faced this problem in 50% of cases, the residents had average scores of less than 30%, indicating a lack of knowledge in this area.
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