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Pediatrics. 2019 Sep;144(3). pii: e20190844. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-0844. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

Patient Satisfaction and Antibiotic Prescribing for Respiratory Infections by Telemedicine.

Author information

Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Cleveland Clinic Children's.
Center for Value-Based Care Research, and.
Community Care Primary Pediatrics, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.
Center for Value-Based Care Research, and



Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a common reason for direct-to-consumer (DTC) telemedicine consultation. Antibiotic prescribing during video-only DTC telemedicine encounters was explored for pediatric RTIs.


Encounter data were obtained from a nationwide DTC telemedicine platform. Mixed-effects regression was used to assess variation in antibiotic receipt by patient and physician factors as well as the association between antibiotic receipt and visit length or patient satisfaction.


Of 12 842 RTI encounters with 560 physicians, antibiotics were prescribed in 55%. The provider was more likely to receive a 5-star rating from the parent when an antibiotic was prescribed (93.4% vs 80.8%). A 5-star rating was associated with a prescription for an antibiotic (odds ratio [OR] 3.38; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.84 to 4.02), an antiviral (OR 2.56; 95% CI 1.81 to 3.64), or a nonantibiotic (OR 1.93; 95% CI 1.58 to 2.36). Visit length was associated with higher odds of a 5-star rating only when no antibiotic was prescribed (OR 1.03 per 6 seconds; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.06). Compared with nonpediatricians, pediatric providers were less likely to prescribe antibiotics (OR 0.44; 95% CI 0.29 to 0.68); however, pediatricians received higher encounter satisfaction ratings (OR 1.50; 95% CI 1.11 to 2.03).


During DTC telemedicine consultations for RTIs, pediatric patients were frequently prescribed antibiotics, which correlated with visit satisfaction. Although pediatricians prescribed antibiotics at a lower rate than other physicians, their satisfaction scores were higher. Further work is required to ensure that antibiotic use during DTC telemedicine encounters is guideline concordant.


Conflict of interest statement

POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The authors have indicated they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

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