Bf3.1 Patient Based Treatment Evaluation Of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

F. Schöni-Affolter, V. Wapf, K. Matter, M. Widmer, A. Busato
MEMcentre, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland
Upper respiratory tract diseases (URTI) are common reasons for individuals to seek health care. This study analysed the satisfaction of patients with their general practitioner offering conventional (COM), alternative therapies or a combination of both. Data were drawn from a nationwide cross sectional survey conducted in Switzerland evaluating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in general. 207 general practitioners (26% conventional, 24%, non-certified CAM and 50% certified CAM physicians) and 190 adult patients were involved. Patients completed two questionnaires, one at their initial office visit to assess socio-demographic factors, duration and severity of complaints, health status, expectations and reasons for choosing their physician and a second one a month after their first visit, wherein disease/treatment related health status, beliefs and fulfilment of expectations and treatment effects were addressed. In parallel the physician completed a questionnaire concerning patients’ health, symptoms, duration and severity, diagnoses and co-morbid conditions, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and consultation time per patient.
The main finding is that the satisfaction of patients with the provided care does not vary substantially among the different general practitioners. Although certified CAM physicians have longer consultation times for both acute and chronic patients, no difference could be found in respect of patient’s satisfaction. We conclude that general practitioners, offering a variety of treatments, accommodate an important demand in primary health care. However the challenge must remain to optimize clinical success and generated costs in an expensive health care system especially in case of normally self-limiting diseases of the upper respiratory tract.