Limiting Overprescribing of Antibiotics in the Urgent Care Setting

The appropriate use of prescription antibiotics is essential to reducing the incidence of antibiotic resistant infections. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 23,000 Americans die annually from these infections. CDC researchers published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine that found the highest incidence of inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for respiratory conditions was in the Urgent Care Setting at 45.7%.  Emergency Departments were the second highest at 24.6%.

In a Healthleaders article highlighted recently in Hospital Safety Insider, Laurel Stoimenoof, PT, CEO, says, “One of the most daunting challenges of antibiotic stewardship in the urgent care setting is patient expectations.” This demonstrates the common misconception among the lay public that antibiotics are indicated for all upper respiratory infections.

Taking the time to educate your patients regarding the difference between a viral illness that does not require antibiotics and a bacterial infection is a key to managing this issue. All healthcare providers and, in particular, those practicing in urgent care and ED settings, should use caution when making antibiotic prescribing decisions.

MLMIC supports providers in their efforts to prescribe antibiotics when required and provide patient education to promote further understanding among the public regarding the effective use of these medications.