How does the duration of consults vary for upper respiratory tract infections in general practice where an antibiotic has been prescribed?
Background: There is limited data on the duration of consults resulting in the prescription of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in general practice.
Objective: To explore how demographic factors influence consult duration where antibiotics have been prescribed for URTI in Australian general practice.
Methods: 2985 URTI-specific presentations were identified from a national study of patients who were prescribed an antibiotic after presenting to general practice between June and September 2017. Consult duration was analysed to assess for any variation in visit length based on demographic factors.
Results: The overall median consult duration was 11.42 minutes [interquartile range (IQR) 7.95]. Longer consult duration was associated with areas of highest socio-economic advantage where patients living in postcodes of Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) Quintile 5 (highest 20% on the IRSAD) had significantly longer consults [median 13.12 (IQR 8.01)] than all other quintiles (P < 0.001). Females [11.75 (IQR 8.13)] had significantly longer consults than males [10.87 (IQR 7.57); P < 0.001]. Clinics based in State C and State F had significantly shorter consults when compared with all other included states and territories (P < 0.001) and shorter consult duration was associated with visits on Sundays [median 8.18 (IQR 5.04)].
Conclusion: There is evidence for the association of demographic and temporal factors with the duration of consultations for URTIs where an antibiotic has been prescribed. These factors warrant further research.