Variations in Antibiotic Use in British Columbia
1) The primary research questions are: Do detectable variations in antibiotic use exist? And, to what extent do patient, physician, and regional factors explain these variations?
Our secondary research questions are whether variations and their explanations differ by patient population groups, namely among children and the elderly, in particular elderly residents of long term care institutions.
2) We hypothesize that variations do exist in antibiotic prescribing in primary care, that patient factors contribute to this variation, and that physician factors contribute meaningfully as well. We hypothesize that there will be some variation between geographic areas, based primarily on indicators of accessibility of primary health care. In addition, we hypothesize that variations will differ between population groups, but that the determinants of variations will not differ substantially. Finally, we postulate that there will be greater variation in antibiotic prescribing for diagnoses associated with greater clinical uncertainty around specific diagnosis and etiology (eg. upper respiratory tract infections) than for diagnoses associated with greater clinical certainty (eg. urinary tract infections).