Background: Patient-centered medical homes incorporate strategies to increase healthcare access as a means of improving health at the patient and population level. We hypothesized that quality improvement initiatives based in a patient-centered medical home would improve hypertension control for adult patients, regardless of race.
Methods: This prospective cohort study included patients of a hospital-based Internal Medicine practice in the southeastern U.S. whose systolic blood pressure was uncontrolled (criteria ≥140mmHg) prior to patient-centered medical home certification. Mean systolic blood pressure and hypertension control rates were calculated from the average of the four quarterly means prior to patient-centered medical home designation and again from the last 4 quarters of the five-year study period (final). Quality improvement interventions included patient identification, multidisciplinary team meetings, targeted outreach, and dedicated office visits for addressing hypertension. Primary outcomes included the change in systolic blood pressure and the change in the proportion of the cohort with hypertension control. Chi-square, two sample t-tests, and ANOVA were used for comparison (SAS 9.3).
Results: The inception cohort had 1,702 patients (64% nonwhite, 36% white) with systolic blood pressure ≥140mmHg. Mean systolic blood pressure significantly decreased while hypertension control rates increased in both races after patient-centered medical home certification. White adults had lower mean systolic blood pressure and higher control rates at baseline and study conclusion compared to nonwhite adults. Similar trends persisted regardless of the number of office visits.
Conclusions: The analysis of blood pressure before and after designation of an Internal Medicine clinic as a patient-centered medical home reveals disparities in rates of chronic disease control. Team-based outreach improves hypertension control for patients regardless of race or visit number. These findings suggest that patient-centered medical homes and a multidisciplinary care approach, not limited to increased access, improve chronic disease control and should be considered for diverse outpatient clinics.
Keywords: Healthcare Disparities; Hypertension; Patient-Centered Care; Quality Improvement.