Antibiotics Rx more at telemedicine visit

. May 31, 2019.

Technology can certainly make life easier for parents and with more insurance companies covering telemedicine visits, sick kids can conveniently see a doctor through smartphones and other devices. But in a new study, researchers discovered the trend of telemedicine may fuel antibiotic overprescribing. Focusing on visits for acute respiratory tract infections like ear infections, sinusitis and viral colds, researchers found that children received antibiotic prescriptions 52% during telemedicine visits, compared with 42% following urgent care visits and 31% after primary care visits. The differences were mostly due to prescribing antibiotics when children were diagnosed with a viral infection. Antibiotics don’t help with viral infections, and when prescribed too often can contribute to the increasing rate of antibiotic-resistant diseases.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages direct-to-consumer telemedicine visits outside a child’s medical home for acute illnesses because of limited physical exam capabilities, limited access to medical records, and the lack of ongoing clinician-patient relationships – all of which are especially important with children too young to accurately describe their symptoms.