Within this page, you will find Industry Perspective blogs written by the UCA Corporate Support Partners (CSP); Insights from UCA Chief Executive Officer Lou Ellen Horwitz; Practice Management blogs to help you better manage center operations; and bonus UCA education in Educational Insights.


INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVES: 2018 Report - Habits and Perceptions of UCC Antibiotic Prescribing

Posted: Nov 29, 2018
Comments: 0
Author: UCA Admin

Posted By Brooke Tomlinson, RB Health

As a market researcher and manufacturer of over-the-counter cough and cold products for over 15 years, we have a duty to support healthcare providers and their patients. We understand the unique pressure that Urgent Care Centers (UCCs) face today, especially when it comes to upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and patient demand for antibiotics. We also understand that overuse of antibiotics encourages the development of resistant strains of bacteria, and each year at least 23,000 people in the U.S. die from infection due to antibiotic resistant strains.1

Although 90% of URTIs are caused by a virus2 and would not warrant an antibiotic, prescriptions for antibiotics appear to be written for many viral conditions across ambulatory care settings. Unfortunately, UCCs carry a large burden of the antibiotic overuse. 41.6% of UCC visits for an URTI diagnosis received an improper antibiotic prescription, and UCCs account for 45.7% of improper antibiotic prescriptions in visits for respiratory diagnoses compared to emergency departments (24.6%), medical offices (17.0%), and retail clinics (14.4%). 3

To better understand urgent care clinicians’ prescribing habits, mindset, and openness to improvement, RB Health conducted a survey of UCCs like yours. The questions were designed to measure the cause and impact of antibiotic prescriptions in UCCs, and to understand potential ways to improve patient outcomes, especially when doctors feel overly pressured to deliver a prescription. The survey included 100 urgent care clinicians from across the U.S.4

Measuring impressions

We asked a series of questions regarding UCCs’ experience with patient demand for antibiotics and misconceptions about URTIs.

·         51% of respondents felt that patients demanded unnecessary antibiotics infrequently or hardly ever (less than 40% of the time)4

·         Only 3% of the respondents knew that 90% of URTIs are caused by a virus. Most physicians believed that less than half of URTIs are caused by a virus2,4

Understanding the cause

We asked respondents what they believed to be to be the cause of overprescribing antibiotics in UCCs and about their own contribution to this issue.

§  88% believe antibiotic overuse is caused by patient demand for something stronger than an OTC, and 57% believed it is caused by patient expectations set by online searches4

·         18% believed that inappropriate prescriptions are simply REPORTED wrong due to selecting the wrong ICD-10 code at the time of diagnosis

·         51% believed the cause is the failure of “delayed” prescriptions

§  A delayed prescription is given with instructions to wait for test results or if patient’s symptoms worsen

§  56% of respondents felt their patients comply with a delayed prescription instruction more than 90% of the time


Working to improve patient outcomes

Finally, we asked questions about how proactive clinicians are being with re


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