Outpatient urinary tract infections in an era of virtual healthcare: Trends from 2008 to 2017

Academic Article


  • Background. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur commonly, but recent data on UTI rates are scarce. It is unknown how the growth of virtual healthcare delivery affects outpatient UTI management and trends in the United States. Methods. From 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2017, UTIs from outpatient settings (office, emergency, and virtual visits) were identified from electronic health records at Kaiser Permanente Southern California using multiple UTI definitions. Annual rates estimated by Poisson regression were stratified by sex, care setting, age, and race/ethnicity. Annual trends were estimated by linear or piecewise Poisson regression. Results. UTIs occurred in 1 065 955 individuals. Rates per 1000 person-years were 53.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 50.6-57.0) by diagnosis code with antibiotic and 25.8 (95% CI, 24.7-26.9) by positive culture. Compared to office and emergency visits, UTIs were increasingly diagnosed in virtual visits, where rates by diagnosis code with antibiotic increased annually by 21.2% (95% CI, 16.5%-26.2%) in females and 29.3% (95% CI, 23.7%-35.3%) in males. Only 32% of virtual care diagnoses had a culture order. Overall, UTI rates were highest and increased the most in older adults. Rates were also higher in Hispanic and white females and black and white males. Conclusions. Outpatient UTI rates increased from 2008 to 2017, especially in virtual care and among older adults. Virtual care is important for expanding access to health services, but strategies are needed in all outpatient care settings to ensure accurate UTI diagnosis and reduce inappropriate antibiotic treatment.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bruxvoort KJ; Bider-Canfield Z; Casey JA; Qian L; Pressman A; Liang AS; Robinson S; Jacobsen SJ; Tartof SY
  • Start Page

  • 100
  • End Page

  • 108
  • Volume

  • 71
  • Issue

  • 1