Racial differences in antibiotic prescribing by primary care pediatricians.
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<p><strong>OBJECTIVE: </strong>To determine whether racial differences exist in antibiotic prescribing among children treated by the same clinician.</p>
<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>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.</p>
<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>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).</p>
<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>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.</p>