Background: In a pan-European randomised controlled trial (GRACE INTRO) of two interventions, (i) a point-of-care C-reactive protein test and/or (ii) training in communication skills and use of an interactive patient booklet, both interventions resulted in large reductions in antibiotic prescribing for acute cough.
Aims: This process evaluation explored patients' views of primary care consultations using the two interventions in six European countries.
Methods: Sixty-two interviews were conducted with patients who had participated in the GRACE INTRO trial. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and translated into English where necessary. Analysis used techniques from thematic and framework analysis.
Results: Most patients were satisfied with their consultation despite many not receiving an antibiotic. Patients appeared to accept the use of both intervention approaches. A minority, but particularly in the trial arm with both interventions, reported that they would wait longer before consulting for cough in future.
Conclusions: Patients perceived that both interventions supported the general practitioner's (GP's) prescribing decisions by helping them understand when an antibiotic was, and was not, needed. Patients consulting with acute cough had largely positive views about the GP's enhanced communication skills, which included understanding their concerns, and the use of a near-patient test as an additional investigation.