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HSR&D Citation Abstract

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Activating Patients to Engage Their Providers for Treatment of Hypertension: The VA Project to Implement Diuretics (VAPID)

Kaboli PJ, Ishani A, Holman JE, Vander Weg MW, Carter BL, Christensen AJ. Activating Patients to Engage Their Providers for Treatment of Hypertension: The VA Project to Implement Diuretics (VAPID). Poster session presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2009 Feb 14; Baltimore, MD.

Related HSR&D Project(s)


Objectives: Evidence-based guidelines recommend thiazide diuretics as first-line therapy for uncomplicated hypertension; however, thiazides remain under-utilized. The objective of our study was to test the efficacy of a patient-oriented intervention to initiate thiazides. Methods: 383 eligible hypertensive patients from 12 VA clinics not taking a thiazide and either previously not at blood pressure (BP) goal (uncontrolled HTN) or at goal and taking a calcium channel blocker (controlled CCB), which is not first-line therapy, were enrolled. Patients were randomized to a control group or three intervention groups designed to activate patients to talk to their providers about thiazides: Group A received an activation letter, Group B the letter with financial incentives, and Group C the letter, financial incentives, and reminder phone call. Outcomes were: 1) patient-initiated hypertension discussion and 2) thiazide prescribing. Results: Overall, the intervention resulted in Group A, B, and C discussion rates of 51%, 54%, and 71% (P < .001) with thiazide prescribing rates of 23%, 25%, and 32% (P < .001). In the uncontrolled HTN sub-group (N = 184), Group A, B, and C discussion rates were 47%, 48%, and 75% (P < .001) with thiazide prescribing rates of 31%, 25%, and 32% (P < .01). In the controlled CCB sub-group (N = 69), Group A, B, and C discussion rates were 57%, 74%, and 59% (P < .01) with thiazide prescribing rates of 7%, 26%, and 32% (P < .01). The control group (N = 130) thiazide prescription rate was 2.6%; all groups were significantly different from controls (P < 0.01). Patients not at BP goal were more likely to initiate thiazides than those at goal (OR 5.2, 95%CI 3.0-9.0). Of note, 51% of uncontrolled HTN patients had controlled BP at their clinic visit without change in their hypertension treatment. Implications: Providing patient-oriented information about thiazides for hypertension resulted in half of patients initiating discussions and one-fourth starting or switching to a thiazide, with a greater effect in uncontrolled patients than controlled patients. Adding a financial incentive and reminder phone call to the letter resulted in modest, but inconsistent, increases in both outcomes. Impacts: This low-cost, low-intensity, patient-activation intervention resulted in high rates of patient-initiated discussions and thiazide treatment. Future studies should investigate patient-activation to promote other areas of evidence-based medicine.

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