Hypertension is the most common chronic condition among Veterans, affecting 37% of patients. Hypertension can lead to stroke, myocardial infarction, chronic kidney disease, and heart failure. Among US blacks, hypertension tends to occur earlier in life, is more common and severe, and is less likely to be controlled compared to whites. Blood pressure control has significantly improved among Veterans, from 46% in 2000 to 76% in 2010, however disparities in blood pressure control persist and reasons for the disparities are not well understood. Recently, the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), led to changes in hypertension management guidelines. SPRINT investigators reported that reducing systolic blood pressure to <120 mmHg (versus <140 mmHg) lowered risk of cardiovascular events and mortality in 3 years of follow-up. The extent to which systolic blood pressure control of <120 mmHg is achieved overall and by race/ethnicity in the Veteran's Health Administration is unknown.
To identify patient-level (Aim 1), provider- and facility-level (Aim 2) predictors of use of guideline-recommended medications and blood pressure control among Veterans with newly diagnosed hypertension and to describe how the effect of these predictors vary by race; to develop and pilot test a provider/team focused informatics strategy to facilitate hypertension control tailored to reduce minority race disparities (Aim 3).
Aim 1: We are conducting a national longitudinal cohort study of Veterans who accessed primary care within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and who received a new hypertension diagnosis between 2007 and 2012. Our study includes 21,125 black and 162,800 white Veterans with a new hypertension diagnosis over the 5-year period. We are assessing patient predictors (e.g. demographic, clinical, military characteristics) for achieving blood pressure control at 1-year follow-up by race using regression analyses. Aim 2: Among the Veterans included in Aim 1, we are using quantitative analysis methods similar to Aim 1 to identify provider- (e.g. number of visits with provider) and facility (e.g. urban/rural)-level predictors. We are also reviewing 300 charts and conducting semi-structured interviews with 36 Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) providers to identify reasons for lack of guideline-concordant blood pressure management/prescribing. Aim 3: Aims 1-2 will inform the clinical decision support strategy which will align with current blood pressure management guidelines and will be developed to support the PACT workflow.
Not yet available.
In 2014 11% of Veterans were black and this group is expected to grow by at least 3% over the next 20 years. My research aims to identify the causes of blood pressure related disparities and ultimately to develop an informatics strategy to support high quality, equitable healthcare for all Veterans. This research is consistent with the VA Blueprint for Excellence Transformational Actions: "to understand and eliminate health inequalities" and the VHA's Strategic Objective on Quality & Equity to ensure that Veterans receive "timely, high quality, personalized, safe effective and equitable health care."
External Links for this Project
Grant Number: IK2HX002609-02
None at this time.