Another problem pointed out in the article is the disconnect between application of a simple diagnostic label and discrimination between patients who will and will not benefit from antibiotics. As the article points out:
The central problem with pneumonia, as with many long-recognized clinical conditions, is that the diagnosis is separated from the treatment. In other words, although physicians are confident that antibiotics benefit patients who have what Sir William Osler would have called pneumonia (elevated white blood cell count, fever, cough, dyspnea, pleurisy, egophany, lobular infiltrate), we don’t know whether the treatment benefits patients whose pneumonia would have been unrecognizable decades ago (with cough, low-grade fever, and infiltrate on CT alone). Improvements in imaging may exacerbate the problem. In this sense, pneumonia exists on a spectrum, as do many medical diagnoses. Not all cases are equally severe, and some may not deserve to be labeled as pneumonia.
It goes on to say that there is equipoise for the performance of clinical trials to determine whether antibiotics can be withheld in dubious cases.