Chicago Tribune / Reuters, August 7, 2012

A new study suggests that using electronic health records to tell doctors what infections are going around in their community could help cut down on unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. Dr. Ari Robicsek from NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois, who worked on the new study, and his colleagues used electronic health records to look back at 28,000 patients who saw one of 69 doctors at NorthShore's hospitals and clinics during flu seasons between 2006 and 2011. On average, those doctors prescribed an antibiotic for patients complaining of a fever and cough or cold symptoms 45 percent of the time, according to the findings published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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