Hypertension management in primary care: Standard care and attitude towards a disease management model

M. W M Wassenberg, J.M. Willemsen, C. A. Gaillard, B Braam

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Introduction: Cardiovascular risk control has become one of the hallmarks in the treatment of diabetes and coronary heart disease, yet assessment of individual risk factors is suboptimal. We have designed a new Hypertension Screening Facility (HSF) for the evaluation of cardiovascular risk in hypertensive patients, based on I) systematic, protocol-driven (WHO/ISH-based) analysis by nurse practitioners, 2) computer-assisted reporting of results and advice, 3) risk assessment using a Decision Support System (DSS), 4) maintenance of the autonomy of the GP. In a pilot study we wanted to investigate this HSF. Methods: Survey I addressed a. how general practitioners deal with hypertension, b. whether they intend to and do use existing clinical guidelines, c. what their opinions are towards changes in the current process of care. In survey 2, we evaluated the attitude of GPs using the HSF. Responses were 43% (51 out of 120) to the first survey and 100% (20 out of 20) to the second. Results: The majority of physicians included lifestyle in their assessment of risk factors and management of hypertension. Consideration of age and a positive family history was extremely high. In contrast, vision disturbances, ECG and microalbuminuria were not often considered. In the absence of additional risk factors, drug treatment was initiated in patients with a mean systolic blood pressure of 162 ± 6 over 99 ± 4 mmHg. In the presence of risk factors (obesity, smoking and a positive family history of cardiovascular disease) treatment is started at an average blood pressure of 154 ± 8 over 96 ± 4 mmHg. Opinions towards a change in management of hypertensive patients were generally positive. The opinions about the new HSF and the cardiovascular risk were reported to the general practitioner and considered useful or very useful by 79%. Conclusion: The present study thus confirms that cardiovascular risk evaluation by GPs is suboptimal, but there is a positive attitude towards an improvement in their assessment by HSF. The novelty of the HSF is that it respects the autonomy of the GP and brings the expertise to the GP. © 2004 Van Zuiden Communications B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-382
Number of pages8
JournalNetherlands Journal of Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • *Attitude of Health Personnel Cardiovascular Diseases/*prevention & control Decision Support Techniques Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted Humans Hypertension/*prevention & control Life Style Mass Screening/methods Nurse Practitioners *Physicians, Family Pilot Projects Risk Assessment Risk Factors


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