Doctors Missing Lots of Chances to Manage BP
By Reed Miller, from Medscape
Survey data show that, in the US, only about one in five doctor office visits by patients with uncontrolled hypertension yields a new prescription for blood-pressure-management medication.
“Our analysis suggests that missed opportunities for new BP-medication prescription are common in the United States,” Dr Raman Ravi Khanna (University of California, San Francisco) and colleagues explain in a research letter in the September 24, 2012 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. “Taking advantage of these opportunities could result in improved BP control among US patients.”
Doctors prescribed new blood-pressure medication to patients with uncontrolled hypertension at only 19.5% of visits.
Khanna et al analyzed data from 4.85 billion doctor office visits in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2005 through 2009. Among patients with diagnosed hypertension who were seeing a doctor who regularly managed blood pressure, about 60% had well-controlled hypertension. However, doctors gave a new BP-medication prescription to patients with uncontrolled hypertension at only 19.5% of visits. About 30% of visits by patients with stage 2 blood-pressure elevation yielded a prescription for blood-pressure medication.
This rate did not improve from 2005 to 2009, but the survey showed that about 40% of patients who told the doctor they were visiting to discuss their hypertension received a new prescription for blood-pressure medication, and this rate was 60% among patients with stage 2 blood-pressure elevation.
“Empowering patients to discuss BP with their physicians through previsit forms, patient portals, education, and incentives may be a way to achieve better BP control,” Khanna et al conclude.
Dr. Pinna says:
Do not wait for your doctor to fix your blood pressure! By a wrist cuff and check it daily. Write the date, time and reading down.
Bring that information to your doctor and say: “Hey, Doc, is this normal?” “Do I need some medicine?”
If you don’t get an explanation or, if it’s abnormal and you know it, find another doctor!
Controlling blood pressure is generally very easy, but if it is not controlled, it’s a killer.