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Prescribing Antibiotics Does Not Save Pediatrician Time

For children with presumed viral upper respiratory infections, Rx does not shorten office visit

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Prescribing an antibiotic does not streamline office encounters for physicians treating children with presumed viral upper respiratory infections, according to a report in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Andrew Coco, M.D., and Arch G. Mainous, Ph.D., of the Health Research Center in Lancaster, Pa., conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 269 office encounters, representing 12,366,162 annual office visits for upper respiratory infections and bronchitis. The data were derived from physician offices in the United States included in the 2000 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

The mean amount of time spent on a visit in which antibiotics were prescribed was 14.24 minutes compared with 14.18 minutes in visits that did not result in an antibiotic prescription.

"This information is important in addressing one of the physician productivity factors responsible for inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, and in ultimately slowing the development of antibiotic resistance," the authors conclude.

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