Join the Program | AHRQ Safety Program for Telemedicine

Improving Antibiotic Use

We are currently recruiting for the AHRQ Safety Program for Telemedicine: Improving Antibiotic Use!

Join the Program

We are recruiting urgent care and primary care practices, including telemedicine practices, to participate in the AHRQ Safety Program for Telemedicine: Improving Antibiotic Use. Beginning in June 2024, this is a free 18-month program that seeks to promote appropriate antibiotic use while maintaining patient satisfaction and reducing potential side effects in patients seen via telemedicine.  

To sign up for the program, we ask that you submit a short 5- to 10-minute enrollment form. Enrollment forms must be submitted by May 23, 2024.  

Why Should I Participate?

Infection-related complaints account for a large proportion of telemedicine visits. Two-thirds of telemedicine visits for upper respiratory tract infections inappropriately result in antibiotic prescriptions. Among the most common diagnoses treated in direct-to-consumer telemedicine visits are upper respiratory infections and sinusitis (35–85% of overall visits) and urinary tract infections (9–12% of overall visits).[1-4] Telemedicine offers unique challenges to the appropriate prescribing of antibiotics, such as lack of established therapeutic relationships, inability to perform a complete physical exam, lack of access to diagnostic testing, and limited infrastructure to implement antibiotic stewardship interventions. This program helps practices overcome these challenges to improve patient safety and optimize antibiotic prescribing by implementing evidence-based and sustainable improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of common infections via telemedicine.

Practice Eligibility

This program is looking to recruit urgent care and primary care facilities, including telemedicine practices across the United States. Practices must offer telehealth in their practice with video-based telemedicine capabilities, as well as utilize electronic health records. Practices can offer care exclusively via telemedicine or via a mix of in-person and telemedicine visits.



Eligible Practices

  • Primary care practices (including internal medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics)
  • Direct-to-consumer, virtual first, and other telemedicine practices
  • Community-based health clinics (e.g., Federally Qualified Health Centers or FQHCs)
  • Urgent care clinics
  • Student health clinics
  • Outpatient specialty practices that provide primary care (e.g., gynecology)
  • Retail clinics
  • Employee health clinics

Ineligible Practices

  • Outpatient specialty clinics that do not provide primary care
  • Ambulatory surgery centers

Benefits of Participation

In this program, you will attend brief educational webinars, have access to experts and co-learning opportunities, and participate in team meetings to learn and implement best practices in antibiotic stewardship and treatment of infectious syndromes. Educational offerings are made available at multiple time points (live and asynchronous) to accommodate professionals’ busy schedules.

Using evidence-based, practical implementation strategies, this program can help members of your practice expand their knowledge of antibiotic stewardship and implement improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious syndromes over telemedicine. As part of this program, practices will strengthen their teamwork, patient safety culture, and ability to communicate with colleagues, patients, and families about antibiotic prescribing.

Benefits of participating:

  • Improve efficiency and patient satisfaction with antibiotic prescribing, using approaches such as scripting for live and patient portal interactions.
  • Receive continuing education units (CEUs), continuing medical education credits (CMEs), and American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification points (MOCs) through live and/or self-paced materials.
  • Perform better on antibiotic-related quality measures (e.g., Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set [HEDIS], Merit-based Incentive Payment System [MIPS], and The Joint Commission Antimicrobial Stewardship standards).
  • Learn evidence-based strategies from nationally renowned experts in telemedicine diagnosis and antibiotic prescribing.
  • Practices participating in a prior similar program saw a 9 percent decrease in antibiotic prescribing overall and a 15 percent decrease for acute respiratory infections.[5]

How Can I Learn More?

For more information about the program, please read our Frequently Asked Questions or register to attend an upcoming informational webinar. Informational webinars will include a 15-minute overview of the program plus time for questions and answers. A recording, transcript, and slides of the informational webinar will be posted below after the first webinar.



Registration Link

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Noon–12:30 p.m. ET


[1] Martinez KA, Rood M, Jhangiani N et al. Patterns of use and correlates of patient satisfaction with a large nationwide direct to consumer telemedicine service. J Gen Intern Med. 2018;33:1768–73.

[2] Martinez KA, Rood M, Jhangiani N et al. Association between antibiotic prescribing for respiratory tract infections and patient satisfaction in direct-to-consumer telemedicine. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178:1558–60.

[3] Jain T, Mehrotra A. Comparison of direct-to-consumer telemedicine visits with primary care visits. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3:e2028392.

[4] Ray KN, Shi Z, Gidengil CA, Poon SJ et al. Antibiotic prescribing during pediatric direct-to-consumer telemedicine visits. Pediatrics. 2019;143:e20182491.

[5] Keller SC, Caballero TM, Tamma PD, et al. Assessment of Changes in Visits and Antibiotic Prescribing During the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Safety Program for Improving Antibiotic Use and the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5:e2220512.

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