Antibiotic prescription in primary care from the perspective of family physicians: a qualitative study
Keywords:Family practice, Qualitative research, Antibiotic prescribing, Inappropriate use, Phenomenology
Introduction: Antibiotic consumption increases worldwide steadily. Turkey is now top on the list of global consumption and became a prototype of excessive use of antibiotics. In the last two decades, family physicians (FPs) have become key figures in the healthcare system. This study aims to understand the reasons for inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and elicit suggestions for improving antibiotic use in primary care from doctors themselves.
Methodology: This is a qualitative semi-structured interview study with research dialogues guided by the Vancouver School of interpretive phenomenology. Fourteen FPs from different parts of Turkey were questioned on inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions and their suggestions for improving antibiotic use.
Results: The most important reasons for prescribing antibiotics without acceptable indications were patient expectations, defensive medical decision making, constraints due to workload, and limited access to laboratories. The most remarkable inference was the personal feeling of an insecure job environment of the FPs. The most potent suggestions for improving the quality of antibiotic prescription were public campaigns, improvements in the diagnostic infrastructures of primary care centers, and enhancing the social status of FPs. The FPs expressed strong concerns related to the complaints that patients make to administrative bodies.
Conclusions: Primary care physicians work under immense pressure, stemming mainly from workload, patient expectations, and obstacles related to diagnostic processes. Improving the social status of physicians, increasing public awareness, and the facilitation of diagnostic procedures was the methods suggested for increasing antibiotic prescription accuracy.
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