UPMC Study: E-Visits May Lead to Overprescribing | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

UPMC Study: E-Visits May Lead to Overprescribing

November 20, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

According to a study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, patients who receive care through an e-visit may be overprescribed.

The study looked at four primary care practices at UPMC that use e-visits. It found that patients who use this technology were more likely to receive antibiotics before having relevant testing ordered than those who went for an in-person visit. The researchers looked at data from 5,165 visits for sinusitis and 2,954 visits for urinary tract infections (UTIs) from Jan. 1, 2010, to May 1, 2011. Nine percent of the visits for sinusitis and three percent for UTIs occurred through the Internet at these four practices.

“The main concern about e-visits, now offered in various forms by numerous health systems, has centered on quality  issues--specifically about whether physicians can make accurate diagnoses without a physical exam; whether the use of tests and follow-up visits is appropriate, and whether antibiotics might be overprescribed,” Ateev Mehrotra, M.D., author of the study, associate professor in internal medicine at Pitt’s School of Medicine and a researcher at the non-profit RAND corporation, said in a statement.

According to Mehrotra, when physicians cannot directly examine the patient they tend to take a ‘conservative’ route and order antibiotics. This was especially the case for UTIs, researchers found, where physicians examining a patient through an e-visit were less likely to order a urinalysis or urine culture, which can confirm a bacterial infection.

On a more positive note, the researchers said there was no difference in follow-up rates between regular visits and e-visits. Mehrotra also noted there were limitations to the study, because it captured only follow-up visits and not outcomes. The team also did not compare phone care, commonly provided in primary care practices, to electronic or office visits.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Trump will Nominate Acting VA Secretary Wilkie for Permanent Position

Just a day after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Cerner inked their $10 billion EHR (electronic health record) deal, President Trump said he would be nominating Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for the permanent position.

ONC Names API Server Showdown Stage 2 Winner

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has named 1UpHealth as the Stage 2 winner of the “Secure API Server Showdown” challenge.

EHNAC Developing Trusted Exchange Accreditation Program

To align with the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, a nonprofit standards development organization and accrediting body, is working with other organizations to establish a new Trusted Exchange Accreditation Program.

Lawmakers Demand New VA CIO, Citing “Malign Neglect” on EHR Project

A group of Democratic federal lawmakers, five senators and six members of Congress, are calling out the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for what they call “malign neglect” in the agency’s efforts to achieve electronic health record (EHR) modernization.

Medical Record Access Proves Costly for Some Patients, GAO Report Finds

Federal law requires healthcare providers to give patients access to their medical records, but according to a new GAO report, some patients believe they’re being charged too much to access their records.

Parkland’s Innovation Bridge Takes ‘Genius Bar’ Approach to Digital Health Apps

Taking inspiration from the Apple Genius Bar and Ochsner Health System’s O Bar, the Dallas-based Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation in collaboration with Parkland Health & Hospital System has opened an “Innovation Bridge” to assist patients with health-related apps.