Background: Based on recommendations of the Fifth and Sixth Reports of the Joint National Committee (JNC) on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, Health Care Plan (now Univera Healthcare) Buffalo, NY, developed a clinical guideline to improve the management of patients with hypertension. To increase awareness and utilization, the guideline was distributed as hard copy reports and made available through our electronic information system.
Objective: To determine blood pressure (BP) control rates and adherence to guideline recommendations.
Study design: Retrospective chart review.
Patients and methods: We randomly sampled hypertensive patients seen during 1998 to evaluate hypertension management. Computerized medical and pharmacy records were reviewed for patient demographics, antihypertensive medications, comorbid conditions, and BP readings. Patient assessment was based on antihypertensive regimen and achievement of target BP according to the recommendations of the guidelines (< 140/90 mm Hg for the general population and < 130/85 mm Hg for special populations). In addition, we assessed control rates using traditional Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures (< 140/90 mm Hg).
Results: Overall, 35% of patients achieved target BP and 68% were treated with agents recommended by our JNC-based guideline. In contrast, using traditional HEDIS measures, 41% of patients achieved BP control. Of 39 patients with compelling indications (primarily diabetic patients), 13% achieved BP target and 67% were treated with recommended agents.
Conclusions: The impact of our clinical guideline is reflected through the relatively high utilization of recommended drugs. However, optimal BP control continues to be problematic. In particular, patients with diabetes warrant focused attention.