New Study Suggests Using Pharmacist Services Could Free Up ERs

A new study out of Canada found that patients with uncomplicated urinary tract infections can be “safely and quickly” treated by a pharmacist, and potentially unburden busy emergency rooms across the country.  The study, “Outcomes of Urinary Tract Infection Management by Pharmacists: A study of pharmacist prescribing and care in patients with uncomplicated urinary tract infections in the community,” followed 750 patients seeking help at a pharmacy for symptoms of an uncomplicated UTI.  At the two-week follow-up, the study found that the majority of patients’ symptoms were resolved, and patients were able to access a pharmacist one day sooner than a physician.

“What we’re trying to show here is that these uncomplicated infections can be safely managed outside of an acute care,” Dr. Daniel Smyth, one of researchers, remarked.

Pharmacists in Canada have been able to prescribe for uncomplicated UTIs since 2014 — however, the service is not reimbursed by Medicare.

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