Infectious Disease

In keeping with research outcomes, telemedicine considerably improves the prescribing of antibiotics for urinary tract infections

December 05, 2020

1 min read

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Virtual care for uncomplicated urinary tract infections has been associated with more appropriate antimicrobial prescriptions and a reduction in diagnostic testing and follow-up resources compared to face-to-face office visits, according to a recent study.

The study, conducted in a primary care network with 44 outpatient locations, “add[s] Further support for the growing understanding of virtual visits as a tool to improve antibiotic prescribing in the ambulatory setting, ”the researchers wrote.

Telemedicine Stock Image

Virtual UTI care was associated with more appropriate antimicrobial prescriptions and less use of diagnostic and follow-up resources compared to office visits.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock

“Our facility previously assessed the impact of the same virtual visiting platform on the appropriate diagnosis and prescription of sinusitis.” Kaitlyn L. Johnson, PharmD, A pharmacy in Mercy Health Muskegon, Michigan, said Healio. “We observed a significant improvement in the appropriate diagnosis of viral sinusitis and a corresponding decrease in the prescription of antibiotics in patients treated by virtual visits. We wanted to know if we would find similar results on the same platform with a different diagnosis. “

Johnson and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to compare how closely clinicians followed the network’s guidelines for antimicrobial stewardship programs when making virtual or office visits for uncomplicated urinary tract infections. They compared prescribing in both settings, including drug, duration, and patient outcomes.

Kaitlyn L. Johnson

A total of 350 patients were included in the study, 175 in the virtual group and 175 in the office visit group. The study showed that patients treated for a urinary tract infection through a virtual visit were more likely to use first-line antibiotics (74.9% vs 59.4%; P = 0.002) and policy-compliant duration (100% vs 53.1%). P <0.001). In addition, the researchers found that patients treated through virtual visits were more likely to have a urinalysis (0% versus 97.1%; P <0.001) or urine culture (0% versus 73.1%; P <0.001) ) Was lower and was ordered. They are less likely to be re-examined within 7 days (5.1% vs 18.9%; P <0.001).

Johnson and colleagues suggested that prescribing during telemedicine visits could be improved because the virtual visiting platform includes a drop-down menu of antibiotic options, each with a “fixed but policy duration” that could not be changed within the virtual platform . ”

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