Introduction: We aimed to assess whether hypertension management with a structured physician information program and a feedback system leads to improved blood pressure (BP) control and cardiovascular outcomes.
Methods: Cluster randomized (3 : 1), open, monitored, multicenter trial in Germany. Primary care-based physicians in the information group (IG) received detailed training on hypertension guidelines, feedback on target-level attainment, and a reminder to intensify treatment after each patient visit, whereas the observation/control group (CG) did not receive any such measures. A three-level mixed model was developed. Time-independent level differences between groups, group-independent changes, and nonparallel group-specific changes over time were tested.
Results: A total of 15 041 (78.1%) hypertensive patients were in the IG and 4213 (21.9%) in the CG. By 1-year follow-up, 82.9% of patients in the IG and 81.5% in the CG remained in the study. The guideline-oriented BP target was attained by 56.8% in the IG and 52.5% in the CG (+4.3%, P = 0.03), whereas the individual BP target was attained by 57.0% in the IG and 51% in the CG (P = NS). BP control in the IG was achieved 2 months earlier on average. Clinical inertia, defined as the absence of medication changes, despite noncontrol of BP, occurred significantly less often in the IG group. One-year cardiovascular outcomes did not differ between groups.
Conclusion: The delivery of systematic information in connection with a feedback system reduces clinical inertia and improves guideline adherence. Although compared with earlier studies, the hypertension control rates obtained are higher, there is still considerable room for improvement.