Focussed and simple measures can effectively help in managing hypertension in veterans, says a new study.
The study was conducted over 53,936 Veteran Affairs (VA) patients for 39 weeks (21 weeks before and 18 weeks after the interventions) during outpatient visits. Of which 63 percent reached their blood pressure goal.
The pre intervention analysis showed that 61.8 percent reached their goal whereas post intervention was 64.3 percent.
"Over a four-month period we were able to highlight the importance of blood pressure control with Veteran Affairs Hospital providers and patients and make some small but significant changes," said Dr. Christianne Roumie, M.P.H., lead author of the study and staff physician for the Veterans Affairs Tennessee Valley Healthcare System.
Roumie said hypertension is the most commonly treated chronic condition in VA hospitals, the chief of staff created a performance improvement committee to optimize local hypertension care.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, angina, stroke, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and the development of fatty deposits in arteries (atherosclerosis).
"For patients to effectively manage a chronic illness, such as hypertension, they need information that's easy to understand and they need to be involved in the decision-making process," Roumie added.
The four interventions identified by the researchers included improving measurement and documentation of blood pressure by using a nursing protocol, initiating patient education efforts at visits and giving them a blood pressure wallet card so they could track their own blood pressures and goals.
Distributing treatment guidelines on pocket cards to providers and display posters outlining treatment algorithms and initiating audit/feedback of the provider and firm's performance.
Roumie said reducing blood pressure and getting patients to their goal could subsequently reduce stroke disease and death by 42 percent, heart disease by 14 percent to 20 percent and heart failure by 30 percent to 50 percent.
The study was presented at American Heart Association's 9th Scientific Forum on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke.