Consultation expectations among patients with respiratory tract infection symptoms

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Gitte Bruun Lauridsen, Mette Sejr Sørensen, Malene Plejdrup Hansen, Jette Østergaard Rathe, Dorte Ejg Jarbøl

Introduction: Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to public health, and antibiotic prescribing increases. About 90% of antibiotics are prescribed in general practice, mostly for acute respiratory tract infections. It is well known that patient expectations and general practitioners’ misinter­pretation of patients’ expectations are associated with antibiotic overuse. The aim of this study was to explore Danish patients’ expectations when consulting a general prac­titioner with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infection, and to determine predictors for these expectations. Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted in Danish primary care during 2014. Patients aged ≥ 18 years were asked about their expectations to the consultation when consulting with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections. Associations between socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported antibiotic prescription and patients’ expectations were also explored. Results: A total of 567 patients with symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections were recorded as interested in receiving a questionnaire, 361 of whom responded. The majority expected an examination (94.6%) and an explan­ation (85.9%). About one third expected antibiotic treatment (32.3%). Patients who expected an antibiotic were more than eight times more likely to be prescribed one than were patients not expecting an antibiotic (odds ratio = 8.6 (95% confidence interval: 4.63-16.03); p < 0.001). Conclusion: Most Danish patients expected an examin­ation and/or an explanation of their symptoms when consulting with their general practitioner. Funding: The study was, in part, funded by The Council for Quality Assurance in Primary Care in both The Region of Southern Denmark and Region Zealand. Malene Plejdrup Hansen received a postdoctoral scholarship in general practice and family medicine from The Novo Nordic Foundation. The sponsors have not been involved in the design or the development of the study. Trial registration: This study was registered with the Danish Data Protection Agency (R. no. 2013-41-2582).
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5385
JournalDanish Medical Journal
Volume64
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
ISSN2245-1919
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

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