The study shows some problematic associations, because sometimes the best medicine involves not over prescribing. As the study notes, antibiotics are generally ineffective against seasonal flus, coughs or sore throats, yet a World Health Organization study revealed that 64 percent of people believe antibiotics have a positive impact on viruses. This misguided view can lead patients to feel like their doctor isn’t doing enough to help them when flu-like symptoms are simply treated with a recommendation of rest and fluids in lieu of a prescription.
Prescription Medication Study
For their study, researchers analyzed data of more than 1 million responses in the General Practice Patient Survey of more than 8,160 general practice offices. After looking at the data, researchers uncovered:
- Receiving a prescription was the strongest predictor of doctor satisfaction among the 13 assessed variables.
- For every 25 percent fewer prescriptions given by an office, those offices experienced a 3 to 6 percent drop in satisfaction rating.
In essence, people are less satisfied with their care if they don’t receive a prescription for certain maladies.
“These findings suggest that practices that try to help prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by prescribing fewer antibiotics are likely to experience a drop in their satisfaction ratings,” said Dr. Mark Ashworth, a researcher at King’s College London. “Although small-scale studies have shown that dissatisfaction about not receiving an antibiotic can be offset if the patient feels that they have been listened to or carefully examined, further research is needed to determine if this will help in the real world of busy GP practices.”
Researchers said patients need to become better educated about the functions of antibiotics, and doctors need to become better at explaining why antibiotics won’t work for patients with certain ailments.
“It is frustrating that GP practices that are working hard to reduce inappropriate antibiotics prescribing face falling patient satisfaction ratings,” Dr. Tim Ballard of the Royal College of General Practitioners. “It truly is a case of being damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Public perception needs to change — our patients need to understand that when diseases become resistant to antibiotics, it means that antibiotics will cease to work and, as it stands, we don’t have an alternative.”