-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Management of heart disease
risk factors -- such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and
smoking -- varies significantly among outpatient practices in the
United States, according to a new study.
Researchers found that among 18 primary care and cardiology
practices studied, the percentage of patients screened for smoking
and counseled on how to quit ranged from about 54 percent to 86
percent. The study authors suggested outpatient practices can learn
from one another and improve the prevention and management of
"It's eye-opening for practices to see how much better or worse they're doing than their peers on nationally derived measures of quality. They can learn to improve in collaboration with others instead of alone," the study's lead author, Dr. Zubin Eapen, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said in an American Heart Association news release.
In conducting the study, the researchers analyzed and compared
the medical records of nearly 116,000 patients. The outpatient
practices included in the study were involved in a collaboration of
the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and
American Heart Association, known as The Guideline Advantage.
The study also revealed that the percentage of people whose high
blood pressure was under control ranged from just under 59 percent
to 75 percent among the practices. In addition, the percentage of
patients with diabetes who had their "bad" (LDL) cholesterol under
control ranged from nearly 54 percent to 100 percent.
"Previously, we've focused on improving the quality of inpatient hospital care and haven't explored enough how to improve outpatient care," Eapen concluded. "This baseline snapshot lets us see just how much progress could be made in preventing or managing diseases."
The study findings were scheduled for presentation Friday at the
American Heart Association meeting in Baltimore. The data and
conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be
viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides more
heart disease risk factors.
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