Knowledge and Practice of Primary Care Physicians Relating to Streptococcal Pharyngitis
S. Leshem, H. Tabenkin, E. Dan, A. Tamir
Family Medicine Dept., Emek Medical Center and Northern District of Kupat Holim; and Northern Branch of Specialization Institute, Faculty of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba
Knowledge and practice of primary care physicians as to diagnosis and treatment of group A, b-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis, and the degree to which they agreed with the medical literature and current clinical guidelines were examined. The study was conducted in a group of 195 general physicians, pediatricians, and family medicine specialists and residents. The data were collected using questionnaires which included personal information and questions relating to b-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis and were analyzed by chi-square and t-tests, and logistic regression, as appropriate. A new dependent variable, good clinical practice (GCP), was defined as the total number of correct answers to the questions in the questionnaire. 147 of the 195 eligible physicians returned completed questionnaires, a compliance rate of 76%.
96.6% cited pV as the drug of choice at a daily dosage of 1 g (43.7%) or 2 g (25.4%), for 10 days (90%). 133 physicians (90%) stated that the goal of penicillin therapy for beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis is to prevent late complications. 116 physicians (82%) cited rheumatic fever as a complication of group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis, preventable by appropriate antibiotic therapy. However, only 84 (59%) cited glomerulonephritis as a preventable complication.
When the knowledge and attitudes of the respondents was analyzed in terms of the new variable, GCP, a significant association (p<0.001) was found between physicians’ attitudes and variables such as where they had studied medicine, and work seniority. Those with less seniority and or medical graduates of the Americas demonstrated greater knowledge and better clinical judgment than their more senior colleagues and graduates of European and Asian medical schools. Most primary care physicians in northern Israel treat group A b-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis as recommended in the medical literature.
The level of medical studies in Israel and the Americas and the quality of training of residents in family medicine and pediatrics, have a positive influence on the degree of knowledge of as common a subject as b-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis. Emphasis should be placed on continuing medical education among primary care physicians, particularly veteran general physicians and those who studied in European or Asian medical schools.