A randomized controlled trial of interventions to enhance patient-physician partnership, patient adherence and high blood pressure control among ethnic minorities and poor persons: study protocol NCT00123045

Implement Sci. 2009 Feb 19;4:7. doi: 10.1186/1748-5908-4-7.


Background: Disparities in health and healthcare are extensively documented across clinical conditions, settings, and dimensions of healthcare quality. In particular, studies show that ethnic minorities and persons with low socioeconomic status receive poorer quality of interpersonal or patient-centered care than whites and persons with higher socioeconomic status. Strong evidence links patient-centered care to improvements in patient adherence and health outcomes; therefore, interventions that enhance this dimension of care are promising strategies to improve adherence and overcome disparities in outcomes for ethnic minorities and poor persons.

Objective: This paper describes the design of the Patient-Physician Partnership (Triple P) Study. The goal of the study is to compare the relative effectiveness of the patient and physician intensive interventions, separately, and in combination with one another, with the effectiveness of minimal interventions. The main hypothesis is that patients in the intensive intervention groups will have better adherence to appointments, medication, and lifestyle recommendations at three and twelve months than patients in minimal intervention groups. The study also examines other process and outcome measures, including patient-physician communication behaviors, patient ratings of care, health service utilization, and blood pressure control.

Methods: A total of 50 primary care physicians and 279 of their ethnic minority or poor patients with hypertension were recruited into a randomized controlled trial with a two by two factorial design. The study used a patient-centered, culturally tailored, education and activation intervention for patients with active follow-up delivered by a community health worker in the clinic. It also included a computerized, self-study communication skills training program for physicians, delivered via an interactive CD-ROM, with tailored feedback to address their individual communication skills needs.

Conclusion: The Triple P study will provide new knowledge about how to improve patient adherence, quality of care, and cardiovascular outcomes, as well as how to reduce disparities in care and outcomes of ethnic minority and poor persons with hypertension.