RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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A randomized controlled trial of telephone management of suspected urinary tract infections in women.

OBJECTIVE: Although urinary tract infections (UTIs) in otherwise healthy ambulatory women are often managed over the telephone, there has been no systematic evaluation of this approach. Our objective was to compare the outcomes of uncomplicated UTIs in healthy women managed over the telephone with those managed in the office.

STUDY DESIGN: We randomly assigned women calling their usual provider with a suspected UTI to receive care over the telephone (n=36) or usual office-based care (n=36). All women had urinalyses and urine cultures. All were treated with 7 days of antibiotics. We compared symptom scores at baseline and at day 3 and day 10 after therapy. We also compared patient satisfaction at the end of the study. The settings were family practices in Michigan.

POPULATION: We included healthy nonpregnant women older than 18 years.

RESULTS: A total of 201 women with suspected UTIs called their physician. Of these, 99 were ineligible, and 30 declined to participate. The women were young (mean age=36.6 years) and predominantly white (86%). Sixty-four percent of the urine cultures had significant growth of a single organism. We observed no difference in symptom scores or satisfaction. Overall, satisfaction was high.

CONCLUSIONS: Short-term outcomes of managing suspected UTIs by telephone appear to be comparable with usual office care.

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