Last updated on May 2018

Digital Online Consultations - Effects on Antibiotic Prescribing in Primary Care


Brief description of study

BACKGROUND/SIGNIFICANCE: With developments in mobile health and the abundance of smartphones, online consultations have emerged as a popular form of primary care in Sweden. Controversy exists regarding diagnostic accuracy, appropriate prescription of antibiotics, and effects on care-seeking patient behavior following implementation of online consultations. As empirical research is lacking, the investigators seek to evaluate online primary care consultations compared to physical consultations with regards to non-inferiority of antibiotic prescription for chief complaint of sore throat.

METHODS: Medical record data is used to identify patients with a chief complaint of sore throat, cough/common cold/influenza, or dysuria after choosing online (DIGI) or physical (PHYSI) consultations. A cohort of patients with similar chief complaints prior to implementation of online consultations was used as a control group (CONTROL). Prospective data from local registries and medical records was gathered 14 days the consultation. The primary outcome was rate of antibiotic prescription after sore throat. Secondary outcomes included patient revisits (including hospital admissions), patient satisfaction, time to physician contact, registered diagnosis, and documentation or Centor Criteria and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)-Criteria.

SIGNIFICANCE: Results will shed light on whether antibiotic prescription differs significantly between digital and physical primary care consultations. Hypotheses may also be generated as to how patients seek care in light of improved availability in a tax-sponsored healthcare system.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03474887

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