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Reducing Antibiotic Prescriptions for Patients Without Evidence of UTI

Laura Shallcross, PhD, discusses how clinicians have “a low threshold” for initiating antibiotics in the emergency department for patients with symptoms similar to a UTI.

Segment Description: Laura Shallcross, PhD, MBBS, MSc, of University College London, discusses show clinicians have “a low threshold” for initiating antibiotics in the emergency department for patients with symptoms similar to a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Interview transcript (modified slightly for readability):

So, I think it's really difficult and it goes back to this thing about having a low threshold. It's really hard to not give an antibiotic to somebody when they come in because they could be really unwell. But, what we can do, is in the 24 hours or the 48 hours after they've come into hospital, we can look at them again and ‘say does that patient really need an antibiotic?’ Now we've got more information to know what's wrong with them. So, it's about looking again at that prescribing decision.

Something I'm quite excited about is we're starting to develop models using data from the electronic health records, but using data from many more patients, so from tens of thousands of patients, to start saying can we predict which patients need antibiotics and which ones don't. So, we can try and give doctors more information to work out who they can stop antibiotics in.

Learn more about Shallcross’ study on inappropriate prescriptions here.