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Team approach helps patients control blood pressure

Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists working together make it easier for patients to follow treatment guidelines.
By Stephen Feller   |   Feb. 9, 2016 at 3:56 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A team-based approach to maintaining blood control treatment helped improve patient management of high blood pressure in a recent study with low-income and minority patients.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found helping physicians, pharmacists and nurses work together to limit barriers of entry for patients helped hypertensive patients at a practice in New York to better control their blood pressure.

Among assistance offered to patients were pill boxes to encourage proper drug regimens, automatic pharmacy refills, transportation to and from appointments, assistance with health insurance, and follow-ups for blood pressure checks and medication.

Increasing interaction between medical personnel, researchers reported, helped minimize roadblocks to treatment that patients often are unable to fix on their own.

"Prior studies have demonstrated the benefits of multidisciplinary teams in highly controlled settings, but our study demonstrates that these benefits translate to real-world primary care settings," said Dr. Robert Fortuna, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in a press release.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, researchers set up an integrated system of care at the University of Rochester Medicine Primary Care Culver Medical Group, analyzing 1,007 surveys and data on 13,404 patient visits collected between 2010 and 2014.

The researchers report blood pressure control rates increased from 51 percent to 67.4 percent of patients, and the number of patients with stage 2 hypertension decreased from 11 percent of hypertensive patients to 6 percent.

"Health care providers are accustomed to working with patients one-on-one, but it is hard to address a patient's needs in a 15 minute clinic visit," Rocco said. "Working together, a team of providers can cover a wide range of issues and minimize roadblocks to treatment."

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