The majority of consultations for acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs) lead to prescriptions for antibiotics, which have limited clinical benefit. We explored patients' willingness to have blood tests as part of the diagnostic work-up for RTIs, and patient knowledge about antibiotics.Methods:
Patients at 6 family medicine clinics were surveyed. Regression modeling was used to determine independent predictors of willingness to have venous and point-of-care (POC) blood tests, and knowledge of the value of antibiotics for RTIs.Results:
Data were collected from 737 respondents (response rate 83.8%), of whom 65.7% were women, 60.1% were white, and 25.1% were current smokers; patients' mean age was 46.9 years. Sex (female), race (white), and a preference to avoid antibiotics were independent predictors of greater level of antibiotic knowledge. A total of 63.1% were willing to have a venous draw and 79% a POC blood test, to help guide antibiotic decision-making. Non-American Indian/Alaskan Native race, current smoking, and greater knowledge of antibiotics were independent predictors of willingness to have a POC test.Conclusion:
A large majority of patients seemed willing to have POC tests to facilitate antibiotic prescribing decisions for RTIs. Poor knowledge about antibiotics suggests better education regarding antibiotic use might influence patient attitudes towards use of antibiotics for RTIs.