Primary care providers play an important role in preventing and managing cardiovascular disease. This study compared the quality of preventive cardiovascular care delivery amongst different primary care models.
This is a secondary analysis of a larger randomized control trial, known as the Improved Delivery of Cardiovascular Care (IDOCC) through Outreach Facilitation. Using baseline data collected through IDOCC, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 82 primary care practices from three delivery models in Eastern Ontario, Canada: 43 fee-for-service, 27 blended-capitation and 12 community health centres with salary-based physicians. Medical chart audits from 4,808 patients with or at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease were used to examine each practice's adherence to ten evidence-based processes of care for diabetes, chronic kidney disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension, weight management, and smoking cessation care. Generalized estimating equation models adjusting for age, sex, rurality, number of cardiovascular-related comorbidities, and year of data collection were used to compare guideline adherence amongst the three models.
The percentage of patients with diabetes that received two hemoglobin A1c tests during the study year was significantly higher in community health centres (69%) than in fee-for-service (45%) practices (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 2.4 [95% CI 1.4-4.2], p = 0.001). Blended capitation practices had a significantly higher percentage of patients who had their waistlines monitored than in fee-for-service practices (19% vs. 5%, AOR = 3.7 [1.8-7.8], p = 0.0006), and who were recommended a smoking cessation drug when compared to community health centres (33% vs. 16%, AOR = 2.4 [1.3-4.6], p = 0.007). Overall, quality of diabetes care was higher in community health centres, while smoking cessation care and weight management was higher in the blended-capitation models. Fee-for-service practices had the greatest gaps in care, most noticeably in diabetes care and weight management.
This study adds to the evidence suggesting that primary care delivery model impacts quality of care. These findings support current Ontario reforms to move away from the traditional fee-for-service practice.
A well documented gap remains between evidence and practice for clinical practice guidelines in cardiovascular disease (CVD) care.
Objective of program
As part of the Champlain CVD Prevention Strategy, practitioners in the Champlain District of Ontario launched a large quality-improvement initiative that focused on increasing the uptake in primary care practice settings of clinical guidelines for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and CVD risk factors.
The Champlain Primary Care CVD Prevention and Management Guideline is a desktop resource for primary care clinicians working in the Champlain District. The guideline was developed by more than 45 local experts to summarize the latest evidence-based strategies for CVD prevention and management, as well as to increase awareness of local community-based programs and services.
Evidence suggests that tailored strategies are important when implementing specific practice guidelines. This article describes the process of creating an integrated clinical guideline for improvement in the delivery of cardiovascular care.
Physicians involved in primary prevention are key players in CVD risk control strategies, but the expected reduction in CVD risk that would be obtained if all patients attending primary care had their risk factors controlled according to current guidelines is unknown. The objective of this study was to estimate the excess risk attributable, firstly, to the presence of CVD risk factors and, secondly, to the lack of control of these risk factors in primary prevention care across Europe.
Cross-sectional study using data from the European Study on Cardiovascular Risk Prevention and Management in Daily Practice (EURIKA), which involved primary care and outpatient clinics involved in primary prevention from 12 European countries between May 2009 and January 2010. We enrolled 7,434 patients over 50 years old with at least one cardiovascular risk factor but without CVD and calculated their 10-year risk of CVD death according to the SCORE equation, modified to take diabetes risk into account.
The average 10-year risk of CVD death in study participants (N = 7,434) was 8.2%. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes were responsible for 32.7 (95% confidence interval 32.0-33.4), 15.1 (14.8-15.4), 10.4 (9.9-11.0), and 16.4% (15.6-17.2) of CVD risk, respectively. The four risk factors accounted for 57.7% (57.0-58.4) of CVD risk, representing a 10-year excess risk of CVD death of 5.66% (5.47-5.85). Lack of control of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes were responsible for 8.8 (8.3-9.3), 10.6 (10.3-10.9), 10.4 (9.9-11.0), and 3.1% (2.8-3.4) of CVD risk, respectively. Lack of control of the four risk factors accounted for 29.2% (28.5-29.8) of CVD risk, representing a 10-year excess risk of CVD death of 3.12% (2.97-3.27).
Lack of control of CVD risk factors was responsible for almost 30% of the risk of CVD death among patients participating in the EURIKA Study.
cardiovascular disease; mortality; risk factors; control; SCORE
The EURIKA study aims to assess the status of primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across Europe. Specifically, it will determine the degree of control of cardiovascular risk factors in current clinical practice in relation to the European guidelines on cardiovascular prevention. It will also assess physicians' knowledge and attitudes about CVD prevention as well as the barriers impeding effective risk factor management in clinical practice.
Cross-sectional study conducted simultaneously in 12 countries across Europe. The study has two components: firstly at the physician level, assessing eight hundred and nine primary care and specialist physicians with a daily practice in CVD prevention. A physician specific questionnaire captures information regarding physician demographics, practice settings, cardiovascular prevention beliefs and management. Secondly at the patient level, including 7641 patients aged 50 years or older, free of clinical CVD and with at least one classical risk factor, enrolled by the participating physicians. A patient-specific questionnaire captures information from clinical records and patient interview regarding sociodemographic data, CVD risk factors, and current medications. Finally, each patient provides a fasting blood sample, which is sent to a central laboratory for measuring serum lipids, apolipoproteins, hemoglobin-A1c, and inflammatory biomarkers.
Primary prevention of CVD is an extremely important clinical issue, with preventable circulatory diseases remaining the leading cause of major disease burden. The EURIKA study will provide key information to assess effectiveness of and attitudes toward primary prevention of CVD in Europe. A transnational study creates opportunities for benchmarking good clinical practice across countries and improving outcomes. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00882336.)
Prevention of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is a major health issue worldwide. Primary care plays an important role in cardiovascular risk management (CVRM). Guidelines and quality of care measures to assess CVRM in primary care practices are available. In this study, we assessed the relationship between structural and organisational practice characteristics and the quality of care provided in individuals at high risk for developing CVD in European primary care.
An observational study was conducted in 267 general practices from 9 European countries. Previously developed quality indicators were abstracted from medical records of randomly sampled patients to create a composite quality measure. Practice characteristics were collected by a practice questionnaire and face to face interviews. Data were aggregated using factor analysis to four practice scores representing structural and organisational practice features. A hierarchical multilevel analysis was performed to examine the impact of practice characteristics on quality of CVRM.
The final sample included 4223 individuals at high risk for developing CVD (28% female) with a mean age of 66.5 years (SD 9.1). Mean indicator achievement was 59.9% with a greater variation between practices than between countries. Predictors at the patient level (age, gender) had no influence on the outcome. At the practice level, the score ‘Preventive Services’ (13 items) was positively associated with clinical performance (r = 1.92; p = 0.0058). Sensitivity analyses resulted in a 5-item score (PrevServ_5) that was also positively associated with the outcome (r = 4.28; p < 0.0001).
There was a positive association between the quality of CVRM in individuals at high risk for developing CVD and the availability of preventive services related to risk assessment and lifestyle management supported by information technology.
The successful implementation of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines relies heavily on primary care physicians (PCPs) providing risk factor evaluation, intervention and patient education. The aim of this study was to ascertain the degree of awareness and implementation of the Spanish adaptation of the European guidelines on CVD prevention in clinical practice (CEIPC guidelines) among PCPs.
A cross-sectional survey of PCPs was conducted in Spain between January and June 2011. A random sample of 1,390 PCPs was obtained and stratified by region. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire.
More than half (58%) the physicians were aware of and knew the recommendations, and 62% of those claimed to use them in clinical practice, with general physicians (without any specialist accreditation) being less likely to so than family doctors. Most PCPs (60%) did not assess cardiovascular risk, with the limited time available in the surgery being cited as the greatest barrier by 81%. The main reason to be sceptical about recommendations, reported by 71% of physicians, was that there are too many guidelines. Almost half the doctors cited the lack of training and skills as the greatest barrier to the implementation of lifestyle and behavioural change recommendations.
Most PCPs were aware of the Spanish adaptation of the European guidelines on CVD prevention (CEIPC guidelines) and knew their content. However, only one third of PCPs used the guidelines in clinical practice and less than half CVD risk assessment tools.
Cardiovascular disease; Practice guidelines; Risk assessment; Primary care providers; Implementation
Most blood pressure recordings end with a zero end-digit despite guidelines recommending measurement to the nearest 2 mmHg. The impact of rounding on management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk is unknown.
To document the use of rounding to zero end-digit and assess its potential impact on eligibility for pharmacologic management of CVD risk.
Design of study
A total of 23 676 patients having opportunistic CVD risk assessment in primary care practices in New Zealand.
To simulate rounding in practice, for patients with systolic blood pressures recorded without a zero end-digit, a second blood pressure measure was generated by arithmetically rounding to the nearest zero end-digit. A 10-year Framingham CVD risk score was estimated using actual and rounded blood pressures. Eligibility for pharmacologic treatment was then determined using the Joint British Societies' JBS2 and the British Hypertension Society BHS–IV guidelines based on actual and rounded blood pressure values.
Zero end-digits were recorded in 64% of systolic and 62% of diastolic blood pressures. When eligibility for drug treatment was based only on a Framingham 10-year CVD risk threshold of 20% or more, rounding misclassified one in 41 of all those patients subject to this error. Under the two guidelines which use different combinations of CVD risk and blood pressure thresholds, one in 19 would be misclassified under JBS2 and one in 12 under the BHS–IV guidelines mostly towards increased treatment.
Zero end-digit preference significantly increases a patient's likelihood of being classified as eligible for drug treatment. Guidelines that base treatment decisions primarily on absolute CVD risk are less susceptible to these errors.
blood pressure determination; data quality; decision support systems; evidence-based medicine; practice guidelines; professional practice; risk assessment
The gap between the level of care recommended by evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and the actual care delivered to patients in practice has been well established. The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) created an implementation strategy to improve the implementation of its 2008 guidelines. This study will evaluate the impact of the strategy to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) screening, prevention and treatment for people with diabetes.
A pragmatic cluster-randomized trial will be conducted to evaluate the CDA's CVD Toolkit. All family physicians in Ontario, Canada were randomly allocated to receive the Toolkit, which includes several printed educational materials targeting CVD screening, prevention and treatment, either in spring 2009 (intervention arm) or in spring 2010 (control arm). Randomization occurred at the level of the practice. Forty family physicians from each arm will be recruited to participate, and the medical records for 20 of their diabetic patients at high risk for CVD will be retrospectively reviewed. Outcome measures will be assessed for each patient between July 2009 and March 2010. The primary outcome will be that the patient is receiving a statin. Secondary outcomes will include 1) the receipt of an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker, 2) various intermediate measures (A1c, blood pressure, LDL-cholesterol, total-/HDL-cholesterol ratio, body mass index and waist circumference), and 3) clinical inertia (the failure to change therapy in response to an abnormal A1c, blood pressure or cholesterol reading). The analysis will be carried out using multilevel hierarchical logistic regression models to account for the clustered nature of the data. The group assignment will be a physician-level variable. In addition, a process evaluation study with six focus groups of family physicians will assess the acceptability of the CDA's Toolkit and will explore factors contributing to any change or lack of change in behaviour, from the perspectives of family physicians.
Printed educational materials for physicians have been shown to exert small-to-moderate changes in patient care. The CDA's CVD Toolkit is an example of a practice guideline implementation strategy that can be disseminated to a wide audience relatively inexpensively, and so demonstrating its effectiveness at improving diabetes care could have important consequences for guideline developers, policy makers and clinicians.
The trial is registered with http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, ID # NCT01026688
Despite important improvements in available prevention and treatment, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Not all high-risk patients and patients with CVD have healthy lifestyles and receive the best possible healthcare. Internationally comparative data are needed to compare cardiovascular risk management in different countries, and to examine the impact of improvement programs and others factors.
This study aims to provide internationally comparative data on cardiovascular risk management provided in primary care and on health-related lifestyles of patients in Europe. The study will also explore the views of doctors and patients on innovative preventive services for CVDs.
Design and methods
An observational cross-sectional study is planned. In 10 European countries, stratified samples of 36 practices per country will be recruited. In each practice, three samples of 15 patients each will be sampled: patients with coronary heart disease, patients at high risk for CVD, and healthy adult patients. The quality of cardiovascular risk management has been specified in terms of 44 performance indicators that resulted from an international Delphi-procedure with general practitioners. Most indicators are based on medical records, and some on a structured interview with a contact person of the practice. Lifestyle (smoking, physical exercise, diet) will be measured with previously validated questionnaires that are completed by patients. Additional measures include practice characteristics and exposure to programs to improve cardiovascular care.
There is a need to find innovative approaches for translating best practices for chronic disease care into daily primary care practice routines. Primary care plays a crucial role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease. There is, however, a substantive care gap, and many challenges exist in implementing evidence-based care. The Improved Delivery of Cardiovascular Care (IDOCC) project is a pragmatic trial designed to improve the delivery of evidence-based care for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease in primary care practices using practice outreach facilitation.
The IDOCC project is a stepped-wedge cluster randomized control trial in which Practice Outreach Facilitators work with primary care practices to improve cardiovascular disease prevention and management for patients at highest risk. Primary care practices in a large health region in Eastern Ontario, Canada, were eligible to participate. The intervention consists of regular monthly meetings with the Practice Outreach Facilitator over a one- to two-year period. Starting with audit and feedback, consensus building, and goal setting, the practices are supported in changing practice behavior by incorporating chronic care model elements. These elements include (a) evidence-based decision support for providers, (b) delivery system redesign for practices, (c) enhanced self-management support tools provided to practices to help them engage patients, and (d) increased community resource linkages for practices to enhance referral of patients. The primary outcome is a composite score measured at the level of the patient to represent each practice's adherence to evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular care. Qualitative analysis of the Practice Outreach Facilitators' written narratives of their ongoing practice interactions will be done. These textual analyses will add further insight into understanding critical factors impacting project implementation.
This pragmatic, stepped-wedge randomized controlled trial with both quantitative and process evaluations demonstrates innovative methods of implementing large-scale quality improvement and evidence-based approaches to care delivery. This is the first Canadian study to examine the impact of a large-scale multifaceted cardiovascular quality-improvement program in primary care. It is anticipated that through the evaluation of IDOCC, we will demonstrate an effective, practical, and sustainable means of improving the cardiovascular health of patients across Canada.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a leading contributor to the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries. Guidelines for CVD prevention care in low resource settings have been developed but little information is available on strategies to implement this care. A community health insurance program might be used to improve patients' access to care. The operational research project "QUality Improvement Cardiovascular care Kwara - I (QUICK-I)" aims to assess the feasibility of CVD prevention care in rural Nigeria, according to international guidelines, in the context of a community based health insurance scheme.
Design: prospective observational hospital based cohort study.
Setting: a primary health care centre in rural Nigeria.
Study population: 300 patients at risk for development of CVD (patients with hypertension, diabetes, renal disease or established CVD) who are enrolled in the Hygeia Community Health Plan.
Measurements: demographic and socio- economic data, physical and laboratory examination, CVD risk profile including screening for target organ damage. Measurements will be done at 3 month intervals during 1 year. Direct and indirect costs of CVD prevention care will be estimated.
Outcomes: 1) The adjusted cardiovascular quality of care indicator scores based on the "United Kingdom National Health Services Quality and Outcome Framework". 2) The average costs of CVD prevention and treatment per patient per year for patients, the clinic and the insurance company. 3) The estimated net health care costs of standard CVD prevention care per quality-adjusted life year gained.
Analysis: The primary outcomes, the score on CVD quality indicators and cost data will be descriptive. The quality scores and cost data will be used to describe the feasibility of CVD prevention care according to international guidelines. A cost-effectiveness analysis will be done using a Markov model.
Results of QUICK-I can be used by policy makers and professionals who aim to implement CVD prevention programs in settings with limited resources. The context of the insurance program will provide insight in the opportunities community health insurance may offer to attain sustainable chronic disease management programs in low resource settings.
This protocol has been registered at ISRCTN, ID number: ISRCTN47894401.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are leading causes of death globally. Early detection of cancer and risk factors for CVD may improve health outcomes and reduce mortality. General practitioners (GPs) are accessed by the majority of the population and play a key role in the prevention and early detection of chronic disease risk factors. This cross-sectional study aims to assess the acceptability of an electronic method of data collection in general practice patients. The study will describe the proportion screened in line with guidelines for CVD risk factors and cancer as well as report the prevalence of depression, lifestyle risk factors, level of provision of preconception care, cervical cancer vaccination and bone density testing. Lastly, the study will assess the level of agreement between GPs and patients perception regarding presence of risk factors and screening.
Methods and analysis
The study has been designed to maximise recruitment of GPs by including practitioners in the research team, minimising participation burden on GPs and offering remuneration for participation. Patient recruitment will be carried out by a research assistant located in general practice waiting rooms. Participants will be asked regarding the acceptability of the touch screen computer and to report on a range of health risk and preventive behaviours using the touch screen computer. GPs will complete a one-page survey indicating their perception of the presence of risk behaviours in their patients. Descriptive statistics will be generated to describe the acceptability of the touch screen and prevalence of health risk behaviours. Cohen's κ will be used to assess agreement between GP and patient perception of presence of health risk behaviours.
Ethics and dissemination
This study has been approved by the human research committees in participating universities. Findings will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations as well as practice summaries provided to participating practices.
Cross-sectional study assessing the acceptability of the use of a portable touch screen computer in order to assess CVD and cancer-related health risk factors as well as the level of preventive behaviours in general practice patients.
This study will also assess whether a touch screen computer health assessment is likely to provide useful information to GPs by assessing the level of agreement between GP and patient self-report on the presence of health risk behaviours.
With touch screen technology becoming more accessible, there is likely to be increased potential to use these technologies to assist in health risk factor assessment as well as delivery of healthcare advice particularly in general practice.
Whether this technology is acceptable to patients and GPs are key indicators of the potential of touch screen assessment to be integrated in delivery of healthcare in the general practice setting.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The study has been designed in order to maximise recruitment of GPs.
A large sample size of almost 3000 patients will be obtained.
As this is a cross-sectional study, no causal relationships can be identified.
Adherence to clinical practice guidelines for management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is suboptimal. The purposes of this study were to identify practice patterns and barriers among U.S. general internists and family physicians in regard to cardiovascular risk management, and examine the association between physician characteristics and cardiovascular risk management.
A case vignette survey focused on cardiovascular disease risk management was distributed to a random sample of 12,000 U.S. family physicians and general internists between November and December 2006.
Responses from a total of 888 practicing primary care physicians who see 60 patients per week were used for analysis. In an asymptomatic patient at low risk for cardiovascular event, 28% of family physicians and 37% of general internists made guideline-based preventive choices for no antiplatelet therapy (p < .01). In a patient at high risk for cardiovascular event, 59% of family physicians and 56% of general internists identified the guideline-based goal for serum fasting LDL level (< 100 mg/dl). Guideline adherence was inversely related to years in practice and volume of patients seen. Cost of medications (87.7%), adherence to medications (74.1%), adequate time for counseling (55.7%), patient education tools (47.1%), knowledge and skills to recommend dietary changes (47.8%) and facilitate patient adherence (52.0%) were cited as significant barriers to CVD risk management.
Despite the benefits demonstrated for managing cardiovascular risks, gaps remain in primary care practitioners' management of risks according to guideline recommendations. Innovative educational approaches that address barriers may facilitate the implementation of guideline-based recommendations in CVD risk management.
Cardiovascular risk management plays an important role in primary care. In patients at high risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) lifestyle and, where appropriate, medical interventions are recommended in guidelines. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important outcome in clinical practice. This study aimed to assess the HRQoL of this patient group and to investigate the impact of both patients' characteristics and practice quality scores on their assessments of HRQoL.
Methods and Findings
An observational study in 218 general practices from 8 European countries was conducted. 2142 patients at risk for CVD (33.5% female) with a mean age of 66.3 (SD 9.1) years completed a questionnaire including the EQ-5D instrument and provided data from medical record. Validated quality indicators of general practices were assessed using practice questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. A hierarchical multilevel analysis was performed to identify predictors of EQ-5D scores at patient and practice level. The mean EQ-5D score was 0.78 (SD 0.19). Female gender (r = −0.03, p<0.0016), age (r = −0.01, p = 0.0387) and lower educational level (r = −0.03, p<0.0001) were correlated negatively with EQ-5D scores. Clinically more important was the correlation of HRQoL with the frequency of practice contacts (r = −0.12, p<0.0001) and the number of uncontrolled risk factors (r = −0.01, p<0.0039). Medication adherence (r = 0.032, p<0.0001), and physical activity (r = 0.02, p<0.0001) were identified as positive predictors of HRQoL. The EUPROPEP-score category ‘organization’ (r = 0.02, p<0.0001) was positively related to EQ-5D scores, whereas other practice scores were not correlated to EQ-5D-scores.
In patients at risk for CVD, good medication adherence, regular physical activity, controlling of biomedical risk factor levels and patient-centered practice organization have been shown to be positively correlated to HRQoL and should therefore be targeted in interventions not only to reduce morbidity but also to sustain or even to ameliorate HRQoL.
Hypertension is suboptimally treated in primary care settings. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario’s Hypertension Management Initiative (HMI), an interdisciplinary, evidence-informed chronic disease management model for primary care that focuses on improving blood pressure management and control by primary care providers and patients according to clinical best practice guidelines.
The perspective of our analysis was that of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with a lifetime horizon and 5% annual discount rate. Using data from a prospective cohort study from the HMI, we created two matched groups: pre-HMI (standard care), and post-HMI (n = 1720). For each patient, we estimated the 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) using the Framingham risk equation and life expectancy from life tables. Long-term health care costs incurred with physician visits, acute and chronic care hospitalizations, emergency department visits, same-day surgeries, and medication use were determined through linkage to administrative databases, using a bottom-up approach.
The HMI intervention was associated with significant reductions in systolic blood pressure (126 mmHg vs 134 mmHg with standard care; P-value < 0.001). These improvements were associated with a reduction in the 10-year risk of CVD (9.5% risk vs 10.7% in standard care; P-value < 0.001) and a statistically significant improvement in discounted life expectancy (9.536 years vs 9.516 in standard care; P-value < 0.001). The HMI cohort had a discounted mean lifetime cost of $22,884 CAD vs $22,786 CAD for standard care, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $4939 CAD per life-year gained.
We found that the HMI is a cost-effective means of providing evidence-informed, chronic disease management in primary care to patients with hypertension.
hypertension; economic evaluation; cardiovascular disease
Quality of cardiovascular disease (CVD) preventive care is suboptimal. Recent data correlated increasing years in practice for physicians with lower-quality health care.
The purpose of this study was to assess physician awareness/adherence to national blood pressure, cholesterol, and CVD prevention guidelines for women according to physician/practice characteristics.
Standardized online survey and experimental case studies were administered to 500 randomly selected U.S. physicians. Multivariable regression models tested physician age, gender, specialty, and practice type as independent predictors of guideline awareness/adherence.
Compared with older physicians (50+ years), younger physicians (<50 years) reported a lower level of awareness of cholesterol guidelines (P=.04) and lower incorporation of women's guidelines (P=.02). Yet, older physicians were less likely to recommend weight management for high-risk cases (P=.03) and less confident in helping patients manage weight (P=.045) than younger physicians. Older physicians were also less likely to identify a low-density lipoprotein<100 mg/dL as optimal versus younger physicians (P=.01), as were solo versus nonsolo practitioners (P=.02). Solo practitioners were less aware of cholesterol guidelines (P=.04) and were more likely to prescribe aspirin for low-risk female patients than nonsolo practitioners (P<.01). Solo practitioners rated their clinical judgment as more effective than guidelines in improving patient health outcomes (P<.01) and more frequently rated the patient as the greatest barrier to CVD prevention versus nonsolo practitioners (P<.01).
Though guideline awareness is high, efforts to promote their utilization are needed and may improve quality outcomes. Targeted education and support for CVD prevention may be helpful to older and solo physicians.
cardiovascular disease; prevention; physician behavior
There are significant gaps in the implementation and uptake of evidence-based guideline recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes in Australian general practice. This study protocol describes the methodology for a cluster randomised trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a model that aims to improve the implementation of these guidelines in Australian general practice developed by a collaboration between researchers, non-government organisations, and the profession.
We hypothesise that the intervention will alter the behaviour of clinicians and patients resulting in improvements of recording of lifestyle and physiological risk factors (by 20%) and increased adherence to guideline recommendations for: the management of CVD and diabetes risk factors (by 20%); and lifestyle and physiological risk factors of patients at risk (by 5%). Thirty-two general practices will be randomised in a 1:1 allocation to receive either the intervention or continue with usual care, after stratification by state. The intervention will be delivered through: small group education; audit of patient records to determine preventive care; and practice facilitation visits adapted to the needs of the practices. Outcome data will be extracted from electronic medical records and patient questionnaires, and qualitative evaluation from provider and patient interviews.
We plan to disseminate study findings widely and directly inform implementation strategies by governments, professional bodies, and non-government organisations including the partner organisations.
Primary care; Family medicine; Guidelines; Preventive care; Cardiovascular disease
All rigorous primary cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines recommend absolute CVD risk scores to identify high- and low-risk patients, but laboratory testing can be impractical in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of this study was to compare the ranking performance of a simple, non-laboratory-based risk score to laboratory-based scores in various South African populations.
We calculated and compared 10-year CVD (or coronary heart disease (CHD)) risk for 14,772 adults from thirteen cross-sectional South African populations (data collected from 1987 to 2009). Risk characterization performance for the non-laboratory-based score was assessed by comparing rankings of risk with six laboratory-based scores (three versions of Framingham risk, SCORE for high- and low-risk countries, and CUORE) using Spearman rank correlation and percent of population equivalently characterized as ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk. Total 10-year non-laboratory-based risk of CVD death was also calculated for a representative cross-section from the 1998 South African Demographic Health Survey (DHS, n = 9,379) to estimate the national burden of CVD mortality risk.
Spearman correlation coefficients for the non-laboratory-based score with the laboratory-based scores ranged from 0.88 to 0.986. Using conventional thresholds for CVD risk (10% to 20% 10-year CVD risk), 90% to 92% of men and 94% to 97% of women were equivalently characterized as ‘high’ or ‘low’ risk using the non-laboratory-based and Framingham (2008) CVD risk score. These results were robust across the six risk scores evaluated and the thirteen cross-sectional datasets, with few exceptions (lower agreement between the non-laboratory-based and Framingham (1991) CHD risk scores). Approximately 18% of adults in the DHS population were characterized as ‘high CVD risk’ (10-year CVD death risk >20%) using the non-laboratory-based score.
We found a high level of correlation between a simple, non-laboratory-based CVD risk score and commonly-used laboratory-based risk scores. The burden of CVD mortality risk was high for men and women in South Africa. The policy and clinical implications are that fast, low-cost screening tools can lead to similar risk assessment results compared to time- and resource-intensive approaches. Until setting-specific cohort studies can derive and validate country-specific risk scores, non-laboratory-based CVD risk assessment could be an effective and efficient primary CVD screening approach in South Africa.
Cardiovascular disease; Prevention; Cholesterol; Stroke; Coronary heart disease
Project Leonardo represented a feasibility study to evaluate the impact of a
disease and care management (D&CM) model and of the introduction of
“care manager” nurses, trained in this specialized
role, into the primary health care system.
Patients and methods
Thirty care managers were placed into the offices of 83 general practitioners
and family physicians in the Apulia Region of Italy with the purpose of
creating a strong cooperative and collaborative
“team” consisting of physicians, care managers,
specialists, and patients. The central aim of the health team collaboration
was to empower 1,160 patients living with cardiovascular disease (CVD),
diabetes, heart failure, and/or at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD risk)
to take a more active role in their health. With the support of dedicated
software for data collection and care management decision making, Project
Leonardo implemented guidelines and recommendations for each condition aimed
to improve patient health outcomes and promote appropriate resource
Results show that Leonardo was feasible and highly effective in increasing
patient health knowledge, self-management skills, and readiness to make
changes in health behaviors. Patient skill-building and ongoing monitoring
by the health care team of diagnostic tests and services as well as
treatment paths helped promote confidence and enhance safety of chronic
patient management at home.
Physicians, care managers, and patients showed unanimous agreement regarding
the positive impact on patient health and self-management, and attributed
the outcomes to the strong “partnership” between the
care manager and the patient and the collaboration between the physician and
the care manager. Future studies should consider the possibility of
incorporating a patient empowerment model which considers the patient as the
most important member of the health team and care managers as key health
care collaborators able to enhance and support services to patients provided
by physicians in the primary health care system.
partnerships; health team; patient empowerment; care coordination
There is ample evidence in the international literature for pharmacist involvement in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) conditions in primary care. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have confirmed the significant clinical benefits of pharmacist interventions for a range of CVD conditions and risk factors. Evidence generated in research studies of Australian community pharmacist involvement in CVD prevention and management is summarised in this article.
Commonwealth funding through the Community Pharmacy Agreements has facilitated research to establish the feasibility and effectiveness of new models of primary care involving community pharmacists. Australian community pharmacists have been shown to effect positive clinical, humanistic and economic outcomes in patients with CVD conditions. Improvements in blood pressure, lipid levels, medication adherence and CVD risk have been demonstrated using different study designs. Satisfaction for GPs, pharmacists and consumers has also been reported. Perceived ‘turf‘ encroachment, expertise of the pharmacist, space, time and remuneration are challenges to the implementation of disease management services involving community pharmacists.
Cardiovascular; community pharmacy; outcomes; pharmacist; primary care
Recent guidelines recommend assessment and treatment of the overall risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) through management of multiple risk factors in patients at high absolute risk. The aim of our study was to assess the level of cardiovascular risk in patients with known risk factors for CVD by applying the SCORE risk function and to study the implications of European guidelines on the use of treatment and goal attainment for blood pressure (BP) and lipids in the primary care of Cyprus.
Retrospective chart review of 1101 randomly selected patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), or hypertension or hyperlipidemia in four primary care health centres. The SCORE risk function for high-risk regions was used to calculate 10-year risk of cardiovascular fatal event. Most recent values of BP and lipids were used to assess goal attainment to international standards. Most updated medications lists were used to compare proportions of current with recommended antihypertensive and lipid-lowering drug (LLD) users according to European guidelines.
Implementation of the SCORE risk model labelled overall 39.7% (53.6% of men, 31.3% of women) of the study population as high risk individuals (CVD, DM2 or SCORE ≥5%). The SCORE risk chart was not applicable in 563 patients (51.1%) due to missing data in the patient records, mostly on smoking habits. The LDL-C goal was achieved in 28.6%, 19.5% and 20.9% of patients with established CVD, DM2 (no CVD) and SCORE ≥5%, respectively. BP targets were achieved in 55.4%, 5.6% and 41.9% respectively for the above groups. There was under prescription of antihypertensive drugs, LLD and aspirin for all three high risk groups.
This study demonstrated suboptimal control and under-treatment of patients with cardiovascular risk factors in the primary care in Cyprus. Improvement of documentation of clinical information in the medical records as well as GPs training for implementation and adherence to clinical practice guidelines are potential areas for further discussion and research.
Challenges remain in translating the well-established evidence for management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk into clinical practice. Although electronic clinical decision support (CDS) systems are known to improve practitioner performance, their development in Australian primary health care settings is limited.
Study aims were to (1) develop a valid CDS tool that assists Australian general practitioners (GPs) in global CVD risk management, and (2) preliminarily evaluate its acceptability to GPs as a point-of-care resource for both general and underserved populations.
CVD risk estimation (based on Framingham algorithms) and risk-based management advice (using recommendations from six Australian guidelines) were programmed into a software package. Tool validation: Data from 137 patients attending a physician’s clinic were analyzed to compare the tool’s risk scores with those obtained from an independently programmed algorithm in a separate statistics package. The tool’s management advice was compared with a physician’s recommendations based on a manual review of the guidelines. Field test: The tool was then tested with 21 GPs from eight general practices and three Aboriginal Medical Services. Customized CDS-based recommendations were generated for 200 routinely attending patients (33% Aboriginal) using information extracted from the health record by a research assistant. GPs reviewed these recommendations during each consultation. Changes in CVD risk factor measurement and management were recorded. In-depth interviews with GPs were conducted.
Validation testing: The tool’s risk assessment algorithm correlated very highly with the independently programmed version in the separate statistics package (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.999). For management advice, there were only two cases of disagreement between the tool and the physician. Field test: GPs found 77% (153/200) of patient outputs easy to understand and agreed with screening and prescribing recommendations in 72% and 64% of outputs, respectively; 26% of patients had their CVD risk factor history updated; 73% had at least one CVD risk factor measured or tests ordered. For people assessed at high CVD risk (n = 82), 10% and 9%, respectively, had lipid-lowering and BP-lowering medications commenced or dose adjustments made, while 7% newly commenced anti-platelet medications. Three key qualitative findings emerged: (1) GPs found the tool enabled a systematic approach to care; (2) the tool greatly influenced CVD risk communication; (3) successful implementation into routine care would require integration with practice software, minimal data entry, regular revision with updated guidelines, and a self-auditing feature. There were no substantive differences in study findings for Aboriginal Medical Services GPs, and the tool was generally considered appropriate for use with Aboriginal patients.
A fully-integrated, self-populating, and potentially Internet-based CDS tool could contribute to improved global CVD risk management in Australian primary health care. The findings from this study will inform a large-scale trial intervention.
Decision support systems; clinical; cardiovascular diseases; physicians, family; Aborigines, Australian
The information on usual care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in primary care is limited in Canada.
To evaluate primary care practice in patients with COPD in Quebec and Ontario compared with recommended care.
The COPD Care Gap Evaluation (CAGE) was a prospective, cross-sectional study. Physicians’ self-reported data of enrolled COPD patients were compared with the recommended care for the level of disease severity (using the Canadian Thoracic Society classification by symptoms) and stability, derived from Canadian Thoracic Society COPD guidelines. Pharmacological treatment, spirometric confirmation of diagnosis and nonpharmacological management, including smoking cessation counselling, influenza immunization and referral for pulmonary rehabilitation, were assessed.
Participating physicians (n=161; 44 in Quebec, 117 in Ontario) recruited 1090 patients (320 in Quebec, 770 in Ontario). The mean (± SD) age of the patients was 69.9±10.4 years; 60% were male and 40% were currently smoking. Pharmacological treatment that matched guideline recommendations was identified in 34% of patients. Discrepancies between reported and recommended treatment stemmed from nonprescription of long-acting bronchodilators (LABDs) for patients with moderate (27%) and severe (21%) COPD, nonprescription of two long-acting beta agonists (a beta2-agonist and an anticholinergic) for patients with severe COPD (51%), and prescription of inhaled corticosteroids (63%) and LABDs (47%) for patients with mild COPD for which the treatment is not recommended. Spirometric confirmation of diagnosis, as recommended by the guidelines, was reported in 56% of patients. For non-pharmacological management, smoking cessation counselling (95%) and influenza immunization (80%) were near optimal. Referral for pulmonary rehabilitation (9%) was not common. Differences between provinces were seen mainly in the prescription of short-acting bronchodilators (89% in Quebec, 76% in Ontario) and LABDs (60% in Quebec, 80% in Ontario).
Substantial gaps between recommended and current care exist in the management of COPD patients in primary care practice. Undertreatment of patients with severe COPD has potential clinical implications, including loss of autonomy and hospitalization.
Care gap; COPD; Practice patterns; Primary care; Treatment guidelines
People with severe mental illnesses (SMI) are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Clinical guidelines recommend regular screening for CVD risk factors. We evaluated a nurse led intervention to improve screening rates across the primary-secondary care interface.
Six community mental health teams (CMHTs) were randomised to receive either the nurse led intervention plus education pack (n = 3) or education pack only (n = 3). Intervention (6 months): The nurse promoted CVD screening in primary care and then in CMHTs. Patients who remained unscreened were offered screening by the nurse. After the intervention participants with SMI were recruited from each CMHT to collect outcome data. Main outcome: Numbers screened during the six months, confirmed in General Practice notes.
All six CMHTs approached agreed to randomisation. 121 people with SMI participated in outcome interviews during two waves of recruitment (intervention arm n = 59, control arm n = 62). Participants from both arms of the trial had similar demographic profiles and rates of previous CVD screening in the previous year, with less than 20% having been screened for each risk factor. After the trial, CVD screening had increased in both arms but participants from the intervention arm were significantly more likely to have received screening for blood pressure (96% vs 68%; adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) 13.6; 95% CI: 3.5-38.4), cholesterol (66.7% vs 26.9%, OR 6.1; 3.2-11.5), glucose (66.7% vs 36.5% OR 4.4; 2.7-7.1), BMI (92.5% vs 65.2% OR 6.5; 2.1-19.6), and smoking status (88.2% vs 57.8% OR 5.5; 3.2-9.5) and have a 10 year CVD risk score calculated (38.2% vs 10.9%) OR 5.2 1.8-15.3). Within the intervention arm approximately half the screening was performed in general practice and half by the trial nurse.
The nurse-led intervention was superior, resulting in an absolute increase of approximately 30% more people with SMI receiving screening for each CVD risk factor. The feasibility of the trial was confirmed in terms of CMHT recruitment and the intervention, but the response rate for outcome collection was disappointing; possibly a result of the cluster design. The trial was not large or long enough to detect changes in risk factors.
International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Registration Number (ISRCTRN) 58625025.
Gender concordance between patients and their physicians is related to prevention screening and other quality indicators. Research suggests female physicians may place greater emphasis on preventive care than male physicians; however, little is known about whether physician gender and patient-physician gender concordance are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor levels and treatment. Our objective was to examine associations between patient gender, physician gender, and their interaction with CVD risk factor control, medication adherence, and treatment intensification in diabetes.
In this study, 157,458 Kaiser Permanente Northern California adult diabetes patients with a primary care physician (PCP) were assessed for above target levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (≥8%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (≥100 mg/dL), and systolic blood pressure (SBP ≥130 mm Hg) in 2005. Medication adherence and appropriate CVD treatment intensification were assessed using pharmacy data. Probit models assessed the adjusted marginal effects of patient gender, PCP gender, and their interaction on control, adherence, and intensification.
Female patients had lower adjusted rates of LDL-C (46% vs. 55%, p < 0.001) and SBP control (52% vs. 60%, p < 0.001) than males. Female patients of female PCPs had the highest adjusted rates of HbA1c control of the four patient-physician gender dyads (70% vs. 66%–68%, p < 0.05). Male patients were more likely than female patients to receive treatment intensification for high SBP (60% vs. 57%, p < 0.001). Female PCPs were more likely than their male counterparts to intensify therapy for hyperlipidemia and hypertension.
Patient and physician gender and gender concordance are modestly associated with CVD risk factor control and treatment in diabetes. Further understanding of these differences could lead to improved CVD outcomes for women.