New Program Helps ID Undiagnosed Hypertension

Technology-based program may improve quality of care in the primary care setting.
Technology-based program may improve quality of care in the primary care setting.

A technology-based program may be used to identify patients with undiagnosed hypertension in the primary care setting, according to research published in Annals of Family Medicine (2014:12:352-358).

Michael K. Rakotz, MD, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues developed a technology-based strategy for the primary care setting to identify patients with undiagnosed hypertension and implement a quality improvement initiative.

In phase 1, the researchers found that an algorithm used to review electronic health records identified 1,432 patients with undiagnosed hypertension. During the 6-month period for phase 1, 475 of these patients completed a protocol for automated office blood pressure (BP) measurements. In phase 2 of the study, a quality improvement process included regular physician feedback and office-based computer alerts to prompt evaluation of at-risk patients who had not been screened in phase 1 of the study.

Of the remaining 1,033 at-risk patients involved in phase 2 of the study, 740 patients (72%) were classified: 361 patients diagnosed with hypertension; 290 patients diagnosed with white-coat hypertension, prehypertension, or elevated BP; and 89 patients diagnosed with normal BP. By the end of the follow-up period, 293 patients (28%) remained unclassified and at risk for undiagnosed hypertension.

"This technology-based screening and testing approach successfully identified patients at risk for undiagnosed hypertension and classified most patients based upon their automated office blood pressure reading," the researchers concluded.

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