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Influenza Management via Direct to Consumer Telemedicine: an Observational Study

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

BACKGROUND

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.

OBJECTIVE

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

METHODS AND FINDINGS

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...

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

References

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    Aoki F, Macleod M, Paggiano P, et al. Early administration of oral oseltamivir increases the benefits of influenza treatment. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003;50(1):123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Fowlkes AL, Steffens A, Reed C, Temte JL, Campbell AP, Influenza Incidence Surveillance Project Working Group. Influenza Antiviral Prescribing Practices and the Influence of Rapid Testing Among Primary Care Providers in the US, 2009-2016. Open forum Infect Dis. 2019;6(6):ofz192. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/ofid/ofz192
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    Martinez KA, Rood M, Jhangiani N, Rose S, Boissy A, Rothberg MB. Patterns of Use and Correlates of Patient Satisfaction with a Large Nationwide Direct to Consumer Telemedicine Service. J Gen Intern Med.Google Scholar
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    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/usmap.htm. Accessed January 4, 2019.
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    Call SA, Vollenweider MA, Hornung CA, Simel DL, McKinney WP. Does This Patient Have Influenza? JAMA. 2005;293(8):987. doi: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.293.8.987 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Monto A, Gravenstein S, Elliott M, Colopy M, Schweinle J. Clinical signs and symptoms predicting influenza infection. Arch Intern Med. 2000;Nov 27; 16(21):3243–3247.Google Scholar

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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