BACKGROUND: In 2008, a set of 41 quality indicators for antibiotic treatment of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in general practice were developed in an international setting as part of the European project HAPPY AUDIT.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate Danish general practitioners' (GPs') assessment of a set of internationally developed quality indicators and to explore if there is an association between the GPs' assessment of the indicators and their practice characteristics as well as their antibiotic prescription pattern.
METHODS: A total of 102 Danish GPs were invited to assess the 41 quality indicators. The GPs were categorized into two groups according to their assessment of indicators. Data concerning practice characteristics and antibiotic treatment were obtained during a three-week registration of patients with RTIs and were linked to the GPs' assessments of the indicators.
RESULTS: A total of 62 (61%) responded. Quality indicators focusing on the frequency of prescribing of narrow-spectrum penicillin were rated as suitable by more than 80% of the Danish GPs, while quality indicators concerning cephalosporins or quinolones were rated suitable by less than half of the GPs. The antibiotic prescribing pattern differed significantly and the GPs who disagreed on most indicators prescribed more macrolides and less narrow-spectrum penicillin than the GPs who agreed on most indicators.
CONCLUSION: Even though an international expert panel agreed on a set of quality indicators for antibiotic treatment of RTIs, only a few of them were rated suitable by the GPs, who are supposed to use them.