The Importance of Placebos
One of the dangers of patient satisfaction surveys and websites:
If we keep overprescribing [antibiotics], they will be completely ineffective. The consequences of this are huge,” Mangione-Smith says.
Why, then, do physicians prescribe them when they’re not called for?
One reason might be to keep their ratings high.
In the study, reviews for the telemedicine service were quite high overall — 87 percent of encounters earned 5 out of 5 stars for patients. But the reviews were significantly higher if the patients received a prescription, especially if it was for an antibiotic. Seventy-two percent of patients gave 5-star ratings after visits with no resulting prescriptions, 86 percent gave 5 stars when they got a prescription for something other than an antibiotic, and 90 percent gave 5 stars when they received an antibiotic prescription.
In fact, no other factor was as strongly associated with patient satisfaction as whether they received a prescription for an antibiotic.
Hadn’t heard this about anti-biotics before. It’s hard to describe the rather intense pressure my wife is under to prescribe pain-killers. Of the handful of times her safety has been threatened, all but one involved drugs she wouldn’t prescribe.
Even though there’s no addiction issue, it’s not hard to imagine that there are lesser variations of this for anti-biotics.