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Online Intervention May Cut Unnecessary Primary Care Visits

THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 -- An online intervention may be effective in reducing a mother's intention to bring her child to a primary care clinic for low-risk pediatric respiratory tract infections (RTIs), according to a study published in the May-June issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Annegret Schneider, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues evaluated an evidence-based, parent-targeted online intervention, which combines microbiological locally enhanced syndromic surveillance data, symptom duration information, and home care advice to reduce primary care attendance for low-risk pediatric RTIs. The authors randomly assigned 806 mothers to receive the intervention material either before (intervention) or after (control) answering questions about their intention to attend a clinic for an RTI illness scenario.

The researchers found that intervention participants reported lower attendance intentions versus control participants. This effect persisted after controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics. The intervention effect was mostly indirect and mediated by infection and antibiotic knowledge, symptom severity concerns, and social norm perceptions regarding attendance. The most important intervention component was information on when to attend (rated 227 times), followed by symptoms (186 times), while information on circulating viruses was rated as least important (274 times).

"The intervention was effective in reducing primary care attendance intentions by increasing knowledge, lowering attendance motivation, and reducing the need for additional resources," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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Posted: June 2019

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