Background: Respiratory-tract-infections (RTIs) are a common indication, and responsible for most of the healthcare services use at primary care. The study aimed to investigate the utilization and determinants of a number of healthcare services use by local Qatari patients presented at selected primary health centers in Qatar.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted using an electronic database that captured RTI-related healthcare services use from selected primary care health centers in Qatar during July 2015 to December 2017. Trends in monthly rates of healthcare services utilization were investigated via a linear regression, while patient-level count data on utilization were used to estimate a negative binomial regression to identify determinants of each of the four healthcare services use.
Results: In total, 171447 RTI-related visits were made by 58786 patients during July 2015 to December 2017. The mean age (± SD) of participants is 24.80 (±18.5) years, and 48.91% of them are male. The highest number of patients with a comorbidity was diabetes (12.85%), followed by hypertension (10.54%). There was a small but statistically significant decreasing trend in the monthly rates of antibiotics consumption and an increasing trend in the rates of tests/investigations done, with less number of utilization during summer months. Healthcare services utilization varied significantly across age-categories and whether patients had one of the five comorbidities. Age and comorbidity status appeared to be important predictors for patient-level healthcare services utilization.
Conclusion: The study produces results on selected primary healthcare services utilization by local RTI patients, which are in line with evidence from the literature. It facilitates an evidence-base for policymakers to comprehend the scale of the problem and plan a better management of RTIs at primary care setting in Qatar.