Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA
Accepting New Patients
Duke Health Provider question
I am committed to bringing the best of myself and of the art and science of medicine to each patient encounter.
– Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA

Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA

Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor, Head and Neck Surgeon, Neurotologist, Otologist

Duke Health Provider question
Accepting New Patients
Call for an Appointment
Areas of Expertise
Where I See Patients
Duke Otolaryngology South Durham - Durham, NC
Duke Otolaryngology and Oral Surgery Clinic - Clinic 1F - Durham, NC
Board Certified
American Board of Otolaryngology, Neurotology
American Board of Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
I am committed to bringing the best of myself and of the art and science of medicine to each patient encounter.
– Howard W. Francis, MD, MBA

About Me

Being a physician fulfills my lifelong desire to be of service. I am fulfilled every day by helping to improve my patients’ quality of life through the diagnosis and treatment of ear diseases and skull base disorders. I take great pride in the mastery of my craft and the high standard of our teams. As an ENT doctor, otologist, and neurotologist, I enjoy serving patients of all ages from infancy to the senior years, and my expertise spans the full range of the medical and surgical management of complex ear diseases, balance disorders, and hearing disorders -- including performing cochlear implant surgery in adults and children. I value the development of strong patient-doctor relationships and am guided by the belief that every patient deserves the same compassion and high standards as I would expect for my own family. I am guided by gratitude, faith, and commitment in my professional life and in my role as a husband of over 20 years and father of a daughter and son.

School of Medicine Departments and Divisions
Current Appointments and Affiliations
Languages I Speak

Call for an Appointment

Ratings and Reviews

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to care provider related questions on our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Learn more about our survey process. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score. Patients who see some types of providers receive a different version of the patient satisfaction survey. Those results are not available on

Overall Provider Rating
4.92 out of 5
129 ratings, 38 reviews

Training and Education

Board Certification
American Board of Otolaryngology, Neurotology
American Board of Otolaryngology, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery, Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), 1995-1997
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), 1990-1995
MD, Harvard Medical School, MIT Division of Health and Science Technology (Massachusetts), 1990
MBA, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School (Maryland), 2012

Clinical Focus and Research

My Research Interests

My research is focused on improving the results of skull base surgery and of cochlear implantation in children and adults. I have published over 100 journal articles on these and other topics in collaboration with colleagues from other disciplines. Among other contributions, this work has reduced complications related to acoustic neuroma surgery and has improved our ability to identify older adults who require additional support with their cochlear implant.

Publications and Grants

Insurance Accepted

Duke Health contracts with most major health insurance carriers and transplant networks, including the ones listed below.

    • Aetna Choice POS, Aetna Choice POS II
    • Aetna Elect Choice HMO, Aetna Open Access Elect Choice
    • Aetna Health Network Only, Aetna Health Network Option
    • Aetna HMO
    • Aetna Limited Benefit Insurance PPO
    • Aetna Managed Choice POS
    • Aetna Medicare Assure Plan (HMO D-SNP)
    • Aetna Medicare Eagle Plan (PPO)
    • Aetna Medicare Essential Plan (PPO)
    • Aetna Medicare Value Plan (HMO)
    • Aetna Open Access HMO, Open Access Aetna Select, Aetna Open Access Managed Choice
    • Aetna Open Choice PPO
    • Aetna PCP Coordinated POS Plan
    • Aetna Quality Point of Service (QPOS)
    • Aetna Select HMO
    • Aetna Traditional Choice
    • Aetna Voluntary Indemnity Group Plan
    • Aetna Whole Health – Duke WakeMed WKCC
    • Aetna/CVS Health
    • Ambetter of North Carolina
    • Blue Advantage
    • Blue Medicare (HMO, PPO)*
    • Blue Options (123, PPO, HSA)
    • Blue Select
    • NC State Employees Health Plan
    • *Duke HomeCare and Hospice does not participate in the plan.

    • Cigna Behavioral Health (*Limited eligibility)
    • Cigna Choice Plus
    • Cigna Connect Individual Family Plan
    • Cigna Open Access
    • Cigna Open Access Plus
    • *Please call Cigna Behavioral Heath to see if the provider is participating in your plan.

    • Duke Basic
    • Duke Select
    • Experience Health Medicare Advantage (HMO) Plan
  • Gateway Health Alliance
  • Healthgram
    • Humana Choice (PPO)
    • Humana Choice - Medicare Advantage (PPO)
    • Humana ChoiceCare - Medicare Advantage (PPO)
    • Humana Gold Choice - Medicare Advantage (PFFS)
    • Humana Gold Plus - Medicare Advantage (HMO)
    • Humana Medicare Advantage Group Plan - NC State Retirees
  • MedCost
    • First Medicare Direct
    • Medicare Part A
    • Medicare Part B
    • AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina
    • Carolina Complete Health
    • Healthy Blue
    • NC Medicaid Direct
    • WellCare of North Carolina
    • TRICARE Prime
    • TRICARE Prime Remote
    • TRICARE Select
    • AARP Medicare Advantage Plan 2 (HMO-POS)
    • AARP Medicare Complete (HMO, PPO)*
    • AARP Medicare Complete Essential (HMO)*
    • All Savers Alternate Funding
    • All Savers Fully Insured
    • United Healthcare (HMO, PPO, POS)
    • United Healthcare Charter/Charter Balance/Charter Plus
    • United Healthcare Choice/Choice Plus
    • United Healthcare Core/Core Essential
    • United Healthcare Navigate/Navigate Plus/Navigate Balanced
    • United Healthcare Option PPO
    • United Healthcare Passport Connect Choice/Choice Plus
    • United Healthcare Passport Connect Options PPO
    • United Healthcare Select/Select Plus
    • United Healthcare Shared Services - Harvard Pilgrim/UHC Options PPO Network
    • United Medical Resources (UMR)
    • *Duke HomeCare and Hospice and mental health providers do not participate with the plan.

Before scheduling your appointment, we strongly recommend you contact your insurance company to verify that the Duke Health location or provider you plan to visit is included in your network. Your insurance company will also be able to inform you of any co-payments, co–insurances, or deductibles that will be your responsibility. If you proceed in scheduling an appointment and your health insurance benefits do not participate with Duke, your out of pocket liability may be higher. We will contact you regarding your coverage and patient liability. If you are uninsured, learn more about our financial assistance policy.

External Relationships

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported outside activities with the companies or institutions listed below. This information has been reported to the health system leadership and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts of interest.
  • Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • Book royalties from Spinger and Elsevier
  • Ear and Hearing Collaborative, Trinidad and Tobago: Public-Private partnership consisting of University of the West Indies, JAZ Medical Company Limited, Diagnostic Research Education Therapeutic Centre