Low-value antibiotic prescribing and clinical factors influencing patient satisfaction

Am J Manag Care. 2017 Oct;23(10):589-594.


Objectives: Patient-centered healthcare is a high priority and is commonly measured and incentivized through patient satisfaction surveys. There is a need to further understand if increasing satisfaction has the unintended consequence of encouraging low-value care. This study assessed the association of low-value antibiotic prescribing with patient satisfaction scores, and it evaluated patient and provider characteristics that may impact the association.

Study design: Retrospective, observational study of acute sinusitis (AS) encounters for adult members of a large integrated delivery system from 2010 to 2013.

Methods: Bivariate and multivariate analyses evaluating the use of antibiotics, patient attributes, and provider characteristics associated with favorable patient satisfaction scores.

Results: Among 5169 encounters for AS, 79.5% of encounters in which antibiotics were prescribed had favorable satisfaction scores versus 75.4% of encounters in which they were not. Independent predictors of favorable satisfaction scores included: receipt of antibiotics (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.24; 95% CI, 1.00-1.55), 45 years or older (aOR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.24-1.69), Elixhauser Comorbidity Index score 2 or greater (aOR, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.05-1.40), provider business partner status (aOR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.20-1.58), and a bonded encounter between a patient and their assigned primary care physician (aOR, 2.06; 95% CI, 1.75-2.44).

Conclusions: Patient satisfaction scores are slightly lower when antibiotics are not prescribed for AS, but 75% of those encounters still received favorable satisfaction scores. Factors such as older patient age, more comorbidities, and an established patient-provider relationship had stronger associations with high patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents