Integration of a multicomponent intervention for hypertension into primary healthcare services in Singapore-A cluster randomized controlled trial

PLoS Med. 2022 Jun 13;19(6):e1004026. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1004026. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Background: Despite availability of clinical practice guidelines for hypertension management, blood pressure (BP) control remains sub-optimal (<30%) even in high-income countries. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of a potentially scalable multicomponent intervention integrated into primary care system compared to usual care on BP control.

Methods and findings: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 8 government clinics in Singapore. The trial enrolled 916 patients aged ≥40 years with uncontrolled hypertension (systolic BP (SBP) ≥140 mmHg or diastolic BP (DBP) ≥90 mmHg). Multicomponent intervention consisted of physician training in risk-based treatment of hypertension, subsidized losartan-HCTZ single-pill combination (SPC) medications, nurse training in motivational conversations (MCs), and telephone follow-ups. Usual care (controls) comprised of routine care in the clinics, no MC or telephone follow-ups, and no subsidy on SPCs. The primary outcome was mean SBP at 24 months' post-baseline. Four clinics (447 patients) were randomized to intervention and 4 (469) to usual care. Patient enrolment commenced in January 2017, and follow-up was during December 2018 to September 2020. Analysis used intention-to-treat principles. The primary outcome was SBP at 24 months. BP at baseline, 12 and 24 months was modeled at the patient level in a likelihood-based, linear mixed model repeated measures analysis with treatment group, follow-up, treatment group × follow-up interaction as fixed effects, and random cluster (clinic) effects. A total of 766 (83.6%) patients completed 2-year follow-up. A total of 63 (14.1%) and 87 (18.6%) patients in intervention and in usual care, respectively, were lost to follow-up. At 24 months, the adjusted mean SBP was significantly lower in the intervention group compared to usual care (-3.3 mmHg; 95% CI: -6.34, -0.32; p = 0.03). The intervention led to higher BP control (odds ratio 1.51; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.09; p = 0.01), lower odds of high (>20%) 10-year cardiovascular risk score (OR 0.67; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.97; p = 0.03), and lower mean log albuminuria (-0.22; 95% CI: -0.41, -0.02; p = 0.03). Mean DBP, mortality rates, and serious adverse events including hospitalizations were not different between groups. The main limitation was no masking in the trial.

Conclusions: A multicomponent intervention consisting of physicians trained in risk-based treatment, subsidized SPC medications, nurse-delivered motivational conversation, and telephone follow-ups improved BP control and lowered cardiovascular risk. Wide-scale implementation of a multicomponent intervention such as the one in our trial is likely to reduce hypertension-related morbidity and mortality globally.

Trial registration: Trial Registration: NCT02972619.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / adverse effects
  • Blood Pressure
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Primary Health Care
  • Singapore


  • Antihypertensive Agents

Associated data


Grant support

The trial was funded via Senior Clinical Scientist award from the National Medical Research Council, Singapore (CSA-SI/0005/2015) (THJ) The funder of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.