Early Institutional Head and Neck Oncologic and Microvascular Surgery Practice Patterns Across the United States During the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) Pandemic
Background: The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused rapid changes in head and neck cancer (HNC) care. ‘Real-time’ methods to monitor practice patterns can optimize provider safety and patient care.Methods: Head and neck surgeons from 14 institutions in the United States regularly contributed their practice patterns to a shared spreadsheet. Data from March 27th, 2020 to April 5th, 2020 was analyzed.Results: All institutions had significantly restricted HNC clinic evaluations. 2 institutions stopped free flap surgery with the remaining scheduling surgery by committee review. Factors contributing to reduced clinical volume included lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) (35%) and lack of rapid COVID-19 testing (86%).Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a reduction in HNC care. Rapid COVID-19 testing and correlation with infectious potential remain paramount to resuming the care of head and neck cancer patients. Cloud-based platforms to share practice patterns will be essential as the pandemic evolves.