Urinary tract infections are considered the most common outpatient medical conditions in many parts of the world. Many survey studies have revealed evidence suggesting that the prevalence of these infections increases with age. This explains why UTIs are commonly diagnosed in older female patients. In 2019, the Journal of Therapeutic Advances in Urology published the details of a study focused on determining the epidemiology and burden of urinary tract infections in the population. According to this study, the prevalence rate of UTI in women over 65% is pegged at approximately 20%. Data sets resented also suggested that about 60% of the global population of women will have a UTI during the course of their lifetime.
In young females, the prevalence of UTI has been linked with increased sexual activity. The most common form of infection –accounting for about 25% of infection cases globally. The global burden of these infections seems to be increasing steadily. Recently, there are studies reporting a spike in UTI cases in young women aged 14 – 24 years. Population. Annually, the estimated cost of community-acquired UTI is estimated at approximately $1.6. If not properly treated, a mild urinary tract infection case can worsen, increasing the risk of fetal mortality, pyelonephritis, and premature delivery. The heavy burden and huge economic cost of these infections have prompted research interests in developing new treatment modalities and healthcare delivery systems.
Treating urinary tract infections with telemedicine is a relatively new practice. Just as in erectile dysfunction, allergies, and substance use disorders, online doctor services now offer treatment plans for medical conditions that require no hospitalization or urgent medical intervention. In the conventional practice, the patient is scheduled or for a physical appointment and with treatment initiated as preferred. However, telemedicine offers a convenient, discreet, and easily accessible method of healthcare delivery for patients with urinary tract infections. With many people recently registering with at least one telemedicine network, online doctor services are expected to get more.
Online Doctor Services and Urinary Tract Infections –Workup and Management
Many online doctor services now have a well-outlined treatment plan for the management of urinary tract infections. In many cases, patients are allowed to either select a one-time medical intervention or a continuing therapy. Urinary tract infections are caused by bacterial invasion of the urethra. These infections are commonly localized to the urethra, bladder, and other parts of the lower urinary tract. Uncomplicated cases present with mild symptoms without any structural deformities. As in all cases of non-emergency infection, antibiotics are the first-line agents in the treatment of urinary tract infections.
Treating UTIs online requires a series of treatment protocols conducted by the virtual doctor. On registering, the patient is allowed to set up an online appointment for a disease workup. Using a two-way secured communication network, the virtual doctor clerks the patient to ascertain the severity of the infection. Duration since infection, symptom presentation, and past medication history are important information at this stage of therapy. If clerking results suggest an uncomplicated UTI, a diagnosis is made, and the therapy plan is outlined. However, if disease progression is at a severe stage, the online doctor might order a laboratory test to guide diagnosis.
If ordered, a microscopic culture and sensitivity test can identify the causative bacteria. In many cases, the test can also provide verified data on the specific antibiotics with the most effective action on the bacteria culture. Antibiotics commonly prescribed for the treatment of UTI include amoxicillin, ceftriaxone, levofloxacin, nitrofurantoin, and cephalexin. As prescription-only drugs, these drugs are not available over the counter. The selected antibiotics are prescribed in an online prescription issued to the patient electronically or sent securely to a preferred registered pharmacy. In continuous UTI therapy plans, the virtual doctor tracks therapy progression and assists the patient in improving drug adherence. Ensuring drug adherence is a critical aspect of any virtual treatment.
In-app notifications, timed voice prompts, and other applications on the telemedicine network assist the patient in keeping up with the drug regimen. A patient monitoring plan can also be initiated by the online doctor. This plan involved tracking therapy progress and modifying the prescription refill is necessary. Therapy monitoring also involves checking for drug action, disease progression, and any allergic reaction to the drug. If microbial resistance is noticed, the patient can be placed on multiple antibiotics and closely monitored.
How Effective is UTI Online Treatment
Online doctor services are a new innovation in optimal healthcare delivery. With this method, therapy is flexible, and the clinician bears the burden of medical care. Since the patient receives therapy at the comfort of their homes, patient satisfaction is guaranteed in telemedicine. The effectiveness of online treatment of UTI has been linked to the Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) method of drug administration. This concept involves the direct supervision of drug use by the clinician. Basically, the patient is mandated to use the prescribed dosage under the watchful eyes of the clinician. In the treatment of UTI, adherence to the prescribed regimen is important for a positive therapeutic outcome.
With online doctor services, the virtual doctor can initiate a DOTS system and monitor the patient remotely. In 2011, the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare published a report of research conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of telemedical management in patients with urinary tract infections. Researchers followed up UTI patients who had a virtual consultation and got an online prescription. Symptoms relief, adverse drug effects, and patient satisfaction were documented. Research results showed that about 79% of the patients reported complete symptom relief, while 92% of the participant pool reported a reduction in symptom severity during the course of treatment.
The effectiveness of online doctor services in the treatment of urinary disease is well documented in clinical surveys. Software features of this service offer the patient a customized therapy plan that can be modified to be discreet or anonymously delivered. As telemedicine rapidly integrates with modern medicine, more cases of UTIs are expected to be remotely and effectively managed by virtual clinicians.