Improving antibiotic prescribing in outpatient settings is a public health priority. In the United States, urgent care (UC) encounters are increasing and have high rates of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Our objective was to characterize antibiotic prescribing practices during UC encounters, with a focus on respiratory tract conditions. This was a retrospective cohort study of UC encounters in the Intermountain Healthcare network. Among 1.16 million UC encounters, antibiotics were prescribed during 34% of UC encounters and respiratory conditions accounted for 61% of all antibiotics prescribed. Of respiratory encounters, 50% resulted in antibiotic prescriptions, yet the variability at the level of the provider ranged from 3% to 94%. Similar variability between providers was observed for respiratory conditions where antibiotics were not indicated and in first-line antibiotic selection for sinusitis, otitis media, and pharyngitis. These findings support the importance of developing antibiotic stewardship interventions specifically targeting UC settings.
Keywords: antibiotic stewardship; pediatric urgent care; telemedicine; urgent care.
Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2019. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.