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Cardiovascular Risk Screening among Women Veterans: Identifying Provider and Patient Barriers and Facilitators to Develop a Clinical Toolkit.

Bean-Mayberry B, Moreau J, Hamilton AB, Yosef J, Joseph NT, Batuman F, Wight SC, Farmer MM. Cardiovascular Risk Screening among Women Veterans: Identifying Provider and Patient Barriers and Facilitators to Develop a Clinical Toolkit. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2022 May 1; 32(3):284-292.

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INTRODUCTION: Cardiovascular (CV) disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, making CV risk screening and management a women's health priority. Objectives were to elicit barriers and facilitators to CV risk identification and reduction among women veterans, and iteratively cocreate clinical tools to identify CV risk factors and promote goal-setting for lifestyle changes. METHODS: We conducted three exploratory focus groups with 21 Veterans Health Administration primary care team members and piloted patient CV screeners with brief interviews with 19 patients from two Veterans Health Administration women's clinics to inform toolkit development. We then conducted two focus groups and one interview for feedback from a total of 12 staff on the proposed toolkit components. Transcripts were summarized, and a matrix analysis was used to synthesize qualitative findings. RESULTS: Provider-identified barriers included difficulties disseminating CV information in clinic, limited patient knowledge, and lack of organized resources for provider communication and available referrals. Women's complex health needs were notable challenges to CV risk reduction. Facilitators included having a single place to track patient CV risks (e.g., an electronic template note), a patient screening worksheet, and aids to complete referrals. Patient-identified barriers included difficulties balancing health, finances, and physical and mental health concerns. Facilitators included resources for accountability and gender-specific information about CV risks and complications. Providers requested easy, accessible tools in the electronic record with gender-specific CV data and resources linked. Patients requested lifestyle change supports, including trustworthy sources vetted by providers. CONCLUSIONS: Iteratively eliciting end-users' perspectives is critical to developing user-friendly, clinically relevant tools. CV risk reduction among women veterans will require multilevel tools and resources that meet providers' and women's needs.

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