Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Letter from doctor boosts cholesterol medication use

Date:
November 15, 2012
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease are more likely to receive a prescription for cholesterol-lowering medication, and to achieve lower long-term cholesterol levels, when doctors use electronic health records to deliver personalized risk assessments via mail.

In a new study, Northwestern Medicine researchers found that patients at high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are more likely to receive a prescription for cholesterol-lowering medication, and to achieve lower long-term cholesterol levels, when doctors use electronic health records (EHRs) to deliver personalized risk assessments via mail.

"It is important to get high priority preventive care messages to patients in a variety of ways," said Stephen Persell, MD, assistant professor of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Feinberg, and first author on the paper. "Sending a mailed message that depicts one's actual cardiovascular risk may lead some patients to action even though talking about treating cholesterol with their physician did not."

The paper was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

CVD remains the number one cause of death globally, and is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are well-known key risk factors for heart disease, and about half of Americans (49 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors.

However, according to the study's authors, risk assessment is not performed often in primary care, and doctors may have inaccurate perceptions of patients' risks.

Persell and the Northwestern team believed the use of EHRs to automatically identify candidates for risk-reducing interventions would result in better care delivered directly to patients. They enrolled 29 physicians and 435 eligible patients in the study, and assigned 14 physicians with 218 eligible patients to the test, or intervention, group.

"This is the first study that took a population-wide approach to identifying all patients who might benefit from this kind of an intervention in a primary care setting," said Persell. "Prior studies have only tried this kind of approach with select groups of patients."

Working with the Northwestern Medical Enterprise Data Warehouse, a sophisticated EHR data repository developed jointly by Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and the Northwestern Memorial Faculty Foundation, researchers identified a pool of at-risk patients who were not being treated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Physicians in the test group received automated notification of these high-risk patients, who were then mailed personalized risk assessments. The assessments encouraged them to discuss risk-lowering options with their physicians.

Ultimately, those in the test group were twice as likely as the control group to receive a prescription for lipid-lowering medication, and after extended follow-up 18 months later, 22 percent had lowered their cholesterol significantly (by 30 mg/dl or more) vs. 16.1 percent of controls.

Though these tactics improved results compared to usual care with no follow-up messages, Persell believes there is still room for improvement.

"Many patients who had increased cardiovascular risk and got the risk message sent to them still did not get their cholesterol lowered. Future studies can examine if repeated exposure to these messages leads to bigger changes over time," he said.

Persell said an ongoing study is currently testing whether a similar approach combined with telephone outreach can help patients in federally qualified community health centers control their cardiovascular disease risk.

Approaches like this can also be tested to speed adoption of the new preventive cardiology guidelines from the National Institutes of Health once the guidelines are released.

Feinberg's Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational research and chair of preventive medicine, and David Baker, chief of medicine-general internal medicine and geriatrics, were also co-authors on the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Letter from doctor boosts cholesterol medication use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115172034.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2012, November 15). Letter from doctor boosts cholesterol medication use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115172034.htm
Northwestern University. "Letter from doctor boosts cholesterol medication use." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115172034.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins