Influenza Management via Direct to Consumer Telemedicine: an Observational Study

  • Michael B. Rothberg
  • Kathryn A. MartinezEmail author
Concise Research Report


Oseltamivir can shorten duration of influenza symptoms, but only if administered within 48 h.1 In primary care, only 20% of patients receive oseltamivir, due to false negative tests and patients presenting too late.2 By connecting patients with physicians 24 h a day, direct to consumer (DTC) telemedicine could solve these problems, without exposing others to infection. Whether DTC telemedicine improves treatment rates or treatment appropriateness is unknown.


The objective of this study was to characterize care seeking, diagnosis, and treatment for influenza in a large DTC telemedicine service.


We describe encounters from a nationwide telemedicine platform,3conducted between July 2016 and August 2018. Patients stated their call reason using free text and provided age, gender, and insurance information. To assess appropriateness, we described patterns of care by epidemic status and assessed patient, physician, and encounter characteristics...


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cleveland Clinic Center for Value-Based Care ResearchClevelandUSA

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