By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

The results of a recent analysis suggest physicians who examine children via telemedicine sessions may be more likely to prescribe antibiotics for sore throats, colds, and sinus infections than if the exams occurred in an urgent care facility or in a primary care provider’s office.

Researchers studied antibiotic prescribing practices from the billing data of more than 4,600 telemedicine visits, 38,000 urgent care visits, and 485,000 primary care visits for children up to 17 years of age with respiratory infections. Fifty-two percent of telemedicine patients received antibiotic prescriptions, compared to 42% for urgent care patients and 31% for primary care provider patients.

Because physicians cannot perform tests or closely examine patients during telemedicine sessions, they may struggle to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections, which could lead to antibiotic overprescribing. Telemedicine can be a useful tool for patients and healthcare providers (research about just how useful is ongoing). Still, the rise in antibiotic resistance worldwide is a serious concern.

Antibiotic resistance can lead to the appearance of new maladies that are resistant to treatment. In recent months, Candida auris has moved front and center. C. auris is a type of yeast that can enter through the bloodstream, spread throughout the body, and cause serious infections. Patients who have been hospitalized long term; patients with a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes; or patients who have taken antibiotics or antifungal medications are at highest risk.

In a recent episode of the Relias Media podcast “Rounds With Relias,” a medical epidemiologist from the CDC discussed C. auris and offered advice on prevention. In a recent issue of Infectious Disease Alert, Carol Kemper, MD, FACP, offered specific details on how medical facilities should prepare for C. auris. And in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention, Medical Writer Gary Evans continues detailing the ongoing saga.