Team care improves blood pressure best

May 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM

ATLANTA, May 15 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers said a review of 77 studies found team-based care -- not a single physician -- is best for improving blood pressure control in patients.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said team-based care -- a primary care provider supported by a pharmacist, nurse, dietitian, social worker, or community health worker -- delivers a better outcome than care by a single physician.

"Adoption of this model throughout the United States would improve blood pressure control for the 68 million adult Americans who have high blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems," Frieden said in a statement. "This analysis shows that when primary care physicians and other healthcare professionals with different expertise and approaches work together to support their patients, they can find the right formula for getting blood pressure under control."

Team members supplemented the activities of the doctor by providing support and sharing responsibility for hypertension care, such as medication management, patient follow-up and helping patients adhere to their blood pressure control plan -- including monitoring blood pressure routinely, taking medications as prescribed, reducing sodium in the diet and increasing physical activity.

The greatest improvement in blood pressure was observed when team members could change medications independently, or with the approval of the primary care provider, Frieden said.

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