The decision to prescribe antibiotics for pediatric acute otitis media (AOM) involves uncertainty and potential harms associated with antibiotic use. This creates a scenario in which parents’ values and preferences should be considered. Besides prescribing pain control medications, the decision in question involves two possible management options: immediate treatment with antibiotics versus observation with initiation of antibiotic therapy if the signs and symptoms worsen or fail to improve after 48 to 72 hours. In the latter scenario, a prescription is often provided to the parent to fill if needed.
The use of encounter tool has potential to support the conversation between the parent and clinician in primary care, pediatrics, and emergency medicine and develop a common understanding of the current evidence for wait and watch prescriptions.
This is an encounter tool to support shared decision making with parents of children with a diagnosis of non-severe AOM where initial observation with delayed antibiotic therapy is as reasonable as immediate treatment. Importantly, this tool is not intended to be used in more complex patients such as those with severe AOM, previous or current use of ear tubes, or multiple recurrent AOM.
The final production tool will be published here once it is ready; meanwhile you can review this PROTOTYPE.