Background: Pilot educational meetings were conducted to (1) verify the support of hypertensive patients in this initiative; (2) test the knowledge of patients regularly followed-up in our Hypertension Centre Outpatient Clinic concerning problems related to hypertension; (3) improve patients knowledge about hypertension through a formal teaching session, (4) compare the knowledge of these patients with that of a control group.
Methods: An invitation to participate in an educational program on hypertension was extended to 210 consecutive patients (group I ) followed-up in the outpatient clinic of our Hypertension Centre. Each meeting included four sessions: (1) an interactive phase with electronic devices aimed at evaluating the degree of information about hypertension by means of multiple-choice questionnaires, (2) a traditional teaching session, (3) an interactive phase to assess the compliance to treatment, and (4) a general discussion session. The control group (II) included 144 hypertensive patients referred for the first time to our Hypertension Centre. Before the initial visit the patients were asked to answer a questionnaire identical to that provided to group I during the meetings.
Results: The meetings were attended by 183 out of the 210 patients in group I (participation rate = 87%). The answers to the questions were corrected as a percentage ranging from 73.7 to 95.6 in group I and from 43.9 to 74.7 in group II (p < 0.01). The provision of more detailed information about problems in hypertension was associated with better compliance to treatment and blood pressure control. (BP under treatment 138 +/- 14/83 +/- 7 mmHg in group I, 152 +/- 15/91 +/- 11 mmHg in group II; (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Our data indicate that this type of educational approach is appreciated by patients (participation rate 87%) and that the level of knowledge about hypertension and compliance to treatment are greater in selected patients than in control patients.