The epidemiology and treatment of conjunctivitis at Urgent Care Centres in Israel
Received 21 January 2019
Accepted for publication 4 March 2019
Published 2 May 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 771—779
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Melinda Thomas
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser
Ariela Gordon-Shaag,1 Deena Rachel Zimmerman,2 Einat Shneor1
1Department of Optometry, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem 9101001, Israel; 2TEREM Emergency Medical Centers, Jerusalem 9546303, Israel
Purpose: Conjunctivitis is the most common ocular condition diagnosed at emergency departments (ED) in the USA, although it is generally not an emergent condition. Treatment of conjunctivitis at Urgent Care Centres (UCC) could offer lower cost than ED. This study describes the demographics and outcomes of a cohort presenting with conjunctivitis to a nationwide UCC system.
Methods: This retrospective study included 17 branches of UCC. Electronic Medical Record data (November 2015–October 2016) of patients diagnosed with conjunctivitis or ocular disorder were retrieved. Data included gender, age, diagnosis, treatment, discharge status and temperature. Patients without conjunctivitis, presenting to UCC during this period served as the control. Results were compared to all ED patients in Israel (from a public report). Descriptive statistics, Chi-square and Z-proportion test were used.
Results: Altogether, 602,074 patients presented to UCC, of which 5,045 (0.84%, 95% CI 0.74–0.94%) were diagnosed with conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis was more prevalent among young males (0–14, p<0.001) and older females. The conjunctivitis cohort at UCC was significantly younger than the ED cohort (p<0.01). UCC treated and released home 96.7% (95% CI 96.2–97.2%) of cases. This is significantly higher than the treatment rate for the entire UCC cohort (93.2%, CI 93.2–93.3%, p<0.05). Treatment in most cases (82.0%, 95% CI 80.9–83.0%) involved the prescription of ocular antibiotic.
Conclusion: Similar to previous studies at ED, conjunctivitis patients are primarily young males. Most patients were treated with antibiotics at UCC and released home. This suggests that UCC may be a good venue for treatment of conjunctivitis.
Keywords: conjunctivitis, urgent care centers, emergency department, public health
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