Racial Differences in Antibiotic Prescribing by Primary Care Pediatricians
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether racial differences exist in antibiotic prescribing among children treated by the same clinician.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of 1 296 517 encounters by 208 015 children to 222 clinicians in 25 practices in 2009. Clinical, antibiotic prescribing, and demographic data were obtained from a shared electronic health record. We estimated within-clinician associations between patient race (black versus nonblack) and (1) antibiotic prescribing or (2) acute respiratory tract infection diagnosis after adjusting for potential patient-level confounders.
RESULTS: Black children were less likely to receive an antibiotic prescription from the same clinician per acute visit (23.5% vs 29.0%, odds ratio [OR] 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.72–0.77) or per population (0.43 vs 0.67 prescriptions/child/year, incidence rate ratio 0.64; 95% CI 0.63–0.66), despite adjustment for age, gender, comorbid conditions, insurance, and stratification by practice. Black children were also less likely to receive diagnoses that justified antibiotic treatment, including acute otitis media (8.7% vs 10.7%, OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.75–0.82), acute sinusitis (3.6% vs 4.4%, OR 0.79; 95% CI 0.73–0.86), and group A streptococcal pharyngitis (2.3% vs 3.7%, OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.55–0.66). When an antibiotic was prescribed, black children were less likely to receive broad-spectrum antibiotics at any visit (34.0% vs 36.9%, OR 0.88; 95% CI 0.82–0.93) and for acute otitis media (31.7% vs 37.8%, OR 0.75; 95% CI 0.68–0.83).
CONCLUSIONS: When treated by the same clinician, black children received fewer antibiotic prescriptions, fewer acute respiratory tract infection diagnoses, and a lower proportion of broad-spectrum antibiotic prescriptions than nonblack children. Reasons for these differences warrant further study.
- ARTI —
- acute respiratory tract infection
- CI —
- confidence interval
- EHR —
- electronic health record
- ICD-9 —
- International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision
- OR —
- odds ratio
- Accepted January 2, 2013.
- Copyright © 2013 by the American Academy of Pediatrics