Pa­tient Per­cep­tion of An­tibi­otics

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What's more, the find­ings of the sur­vey are in line with the cur­rent num­ber of an­tibi­otic pre­scrip­tions be­ing writ­ten. A 2013 ret­ro­spec­tive study by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) found that US physi­cians and as­so­ci­ated health­care providers pre­scribed 258 mil­lion cour­ses of out­pa­tient an­tibi­otics for a pop­u­la­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 309 mil­lion Amer­i­cans in 2010. On av­er­age, this trans­lates to more than eight an­tibi­otics for ev­ery 10 peo­ple. This in­ap­pro­pri­ate prac­tice—un­nec­es­sary pre­scrip­tions and physi­cian un­cer­tainty—has helped to fuel the cur­rent era of ris­ing drug re­sis­tance and su­per­bug in­fec­tions.

Drug re­sis­tance rates are now 15 to 25 per­cent for cer­tain com­monly used an­tibi­otics in the Western Hemi­sphere—and even higher in many de­vel­op­ing na­tions. There are now two mil­lion drug-re­sis­tant in­fec­tions in the United States an­nu­ally re­sult­ing in 23,000 deaths. It is es­ti­mated that the num­ber of global deaths due to dru­gre­sis­tant in­fec­tions will sur­pass can­cer by the year 2050. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion now calls drug re­sis­tance “an in­creas­ingly se­ri­ous threat to global pub­lic health that re­quires ac­tion across all govern­ment sec­tors and so­ci­ety.” The same We­bMD sur­vey also asked pa­tients why they re­quested an an­tibi­otic. Th­ese were their re­sponses:

Th­ese data sug­gest that a large ed­u­ca­tional gap be­tween providers and their pa­tients is con­tribut­ing to the prob­lem. With de­clin­ing re­im­burse­ment rates pro­mot­ing in­creased health­care con­sol­i­da­tion and the par­al­lel con­sumer­iza­tion of health­care, doc­tors are un­der more pres­sure than ever be­fore. Be­yond the lack of re­im­burse­ment for pa­tient coun­sel­ing and ed­u­ca­tion, not ac­qui­esc­ing to pa­tient de­mands in this era can lead to loss of busi­ness to com­peti­tors or worse: loss of em­ploy­ment and friv­o­lous mal­prac­tice law­suits.

The cul­ture and work­ing con­di­tions of the cur­rent era of medicine is clearly tak­ing its toll on the front lines of pri­mary care. Ac­cord­ing to the 2015 Fam­ily Physi­cian Life­style Re­port, 43 per­cent of US fam­ily physi­cians younger than 35 feel “burned out;” this was de­fined as “loss of en­thu­si­asm for work, feel­ings of cyn­i­cism, and a low sense of per­sonal ac­com­plish­ment.” This statis­tic has dra­mat­i­cally in­creased from 2013, when less than 10 per­cent stated they felt burned out. In fact, in the more re­cent sur­vey, 50 per­cent of US

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