Objective: To compare the effectiveness of an evidence-based, systematic approach to hypertension care involving comanagement of patients by primary care physicians and clinical pharmacists versus usual care in reducing blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
Methods: Patients in a staff model medical group with uncontrolled hypertension were randomized to either a usual care (UC) or a physician-pharmacist comanagement (PPCM) group. All physicians in the study received both group and individual education and participated in the development of an evidence-based hypertension treatment algorithm. Physicians were then given the names of their patients whose medical records documented elevated blood pressures (defined as systolic > or = 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic > or = 90 mm Hg for patients aged < 65 yrs, and systolic > or = 160 mm Hg and/or diastolic > or = 90 mm Hg for those aged > or = 65 yrs). Patients randomized to the UC group were managed by primary care physicians alone. Those randomized to the PPCM group were comanaged by their primary care physician and a clinical pharmacist, who provided patient education, made treatment recommendations, and provided follow-up. Blood pressure measurements, antihypertensive drugs, and visit costs/patient were obtained from medical records.
Results: One hundred ninety-seven patients with uncontrolled hypertension participated in the study. Both PPCM and UC groups experienced significant reductions in blood pressure (systolic -22 and -11 mm Hg, respectively, p < 0.01; diastolic -7 and -8 mm Hg, respectively, p < 0.01). The reduction in systolic blood pressure was greater in the PPCM group after adjusting for differences in baseline blood pressure between the groups (p < 0.01). More patients achieved blood pressure control in the PPCM than in the UC group (60% vs 43%, p = 0.02). Average provider visit costs/patient were higher in the UC than the PPCM group ($195 vs $160, p = 0.02).
Conclusions: An evidence-based, systematic approach using physician-pharmacist comanagement for patients with uncontrolled hypertension resulted in improved blood pressure control and reduced average visit costs/patient.