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Telehealth Can Help Reduce Antibiotic Use Among Newborns

By July 19, 2022No Comments

Source: mHealth Intelligence

By Mark Melchionna

Researchers found that using telehealth to consult with pediatric infectious disease specialists can lead to a 32 percent decrease in antibiotic use in nurseries.

– Researchers found that using telehealth to conduct consultations with a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio helped reduce the need for antibiotic use among newborns in nurseries across South Texas.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio includes five professional schools and 7,200 employees. Its clinical practice comprises more than 2 million patient visits yearly.

As telehealth use skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have kept track of its effect on treatment and the extent to which patients benefit.

Keeping antibiotic use among newborn babies in check is important because the medications may have unwanted side effects, such as killing healthy bacteria that babies need to combat various issues, like gut problems and asthma.

“With unnecessary or prolonged antibiotics, the normal, healthy bacteria of babies is disrupted,” said pediatrician Joseph Cantey, MD, first author and consulting specialist for the study from UT Health San Antonio, in a press release. “Ten to 15 years ago, we treated all babies with the slightest risk of infection just to be safe. Then we started to understand the protection afforded by these normal bacteria. Now we are trying to be much more select with who needs to be exposed to antibiotics. Even a couple of doses at birth matter.”

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