The impact of continuity of care on antibiotic prescribing in acute otitis media

Shelby C. Barrera, Ramon Cancino, Tyler Barreto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The rate of antibiotic prescribing for acute otitis media (AOM) remains high despite efforts to decrease inappropriate use. Studies have aimed to understand the prescribing patterns of providers to increase antibiotic stewardship. Watch and wait (WAW) prescriptions are effective at decreasing the number of antibiotic prescriptions being filled by patients. Additionally, poor continuity of care has been associated with higher cost and lower quality health care. Objective: To understand the antibiotic prescribing habits for AOM in a largely Hispanic population. Methods: A retrospective review was performed from 2016 to 2018 of all patients under 25 years old with a diagnosis of AOM seen at multiple outpatient primary care clinics of a single institution. Charts were reviewed for factors including race, ethnicity, gender, insurance status, presence of fever, primary care physician visit, and treatment choice. Data were collected and analyzed using STATA software with t-tests, ANOVA, and Pearson chi squared analysis. Results: Antibiotics were prescribed 95.6% of the time with 3.8% being WAW prescriptions. There was no significant difference in antibiotic prescribing by race (p = 0.66), ethnicity (p = 0.38), gender (p = 0.34) or insurance status (p = 0.24). There was a difference between physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants and antibiotic prescribing rate (p < 0.01). Additionally, seen by their primary care provider were less likely to be prescribed antibiotics (85.8% vs 94.4%, p = 0.01). Conclusion: While a patient's race, ethnicity, gender, and insurance status did not influence the prescribing rate of physicians, continuity of care may play an important role in decreasing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109616
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Antibiotic
  • Continuity of care
  • Demographics
  • Otitis media
  • Watch and wait

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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