Objectives—Evaluation of the effect of a quality improvement programme on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor recording and risk factor levels in a controlled study at two primary health care centres serving 26 000 inhabitants in Northern Helsinki.
Methods—From a random sample of patient records from 1995 (n=1066), 1996 (n=1042), and 1997 (n=1040) the frequency of CVD risk factor recording was measured and the changes in mean levels of total cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, and body weight were monitored during the follow up period. The intervention programme (1995–1996) consisted of lectures and meetings of multiprofessional teams, development of local guidelines, and introduction of a structured risk factor recording sheet as part of the patient records.
Results—After the quality improvement period all risk factors were better recorded at the intervention station than at the control station (p<0.001). More high risk CVD patients were detected from the general population at the intervention station. The mean values of most measured risk factors changed during the intervention. During the follow up period differences were observed between the two health stations in the time trends for body weight, body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol, and glucose levels. Risk factor levels of high risk patients receiving CVD treatment decreased during the intervention.
Conclusions—A simple quality improvement programme improved the practice of recording risk factors for CVD which resulted in earlier detection of patients with a high risk of developing the disease.
Key Words: quality improvement; cardiovascular disease; risk factor recording; primary health care