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Online GP consultation may fuel antibiotic resistance

New study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, examined the impact of private online video consulting services in UK primary care by analyzing provider websites for seven companies and reviewing available research. Researchers found that none of the analyzed websites made any mention of appropriate use of antibiotics or of antibiotic stewardship. Four of them specified that they would prescribe antibiotics with one appearing to use easy access to antibiotics as a marketing strategy.

According to this study, nature of video consultation where examination is impossible, might be expected to result in increased antibiotic prescription, due to clinicians’ feeling a need to play safe. The researchers say that video consultations were acceptable, especially to younger patients, although their safety and effectiveness remained largely untested. Private online GPs do not have access to patients' National Health Service records so there is potential for important information, eg. allergies or drug interactions, to be missed.


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