OBJECTIVE: To develop a set of quality indicators focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory tract infections in general practice. DESIGN: A modified 2-round Delphi study. SETTING: General practice. SUBJECTS: A panel of 27 experts (13 countries) comprising mainly general practitioners, clinical microbiologists, and clinical pharmacologists were asked to rate the relevance of 59 quality indicators for diagnosis and treatment of respiratory tract infections with regard to reducing antimicrobial resistance and improving patient health. A thorough literature review was carried out to ensure that all potential quality indicators were considered. OUTCOME: Consensus for a quality indicator was reached if > or =75% of experts scored the item > or =5 on a 7-point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (=completely disagree) through 4 (=uncertain) to 7 (=completely agree). RESULTS: A 96% response rate was achieved in both Delphi rounds. A total of 41 of the proposed 59 quality indicators attained consensus. None of the quality indicators focusing on the diagnostic process achieved consensus. Consensus was attained for 14 quality indicators focusing on the decision regarding antibiotic treatment and for 27 quality indicators focusing on the choice of antibiotics. CONCLUSION: This study resulted in a final set of 41 quality indicators concerning respiratory tract infections in general practice. These quality indicators may be used to strengthen general practitioners' focus on their management of patients with respiratory tract infections and to identify where it is possible to make improvements.
Keywords: Anti-Bacterial Agents; Consensus; Delphi Technique; Drug Resistance, Bacterial; Family Practice; Humans; Quality Indicators, Health Care; Reproducibility of Results; Respiratory Tract Infections