Individualized Treatment Guidelines for Hypertension Prevent MI, Stroke
The 2,710 participants were identified from among patients who took part in a separate long-term study of atherosclerosis risk. Participants were between 45 and 64 years of age, had no pre-existing cardiovascular disease, and were not receiving any treatment for hypertension.
Measuring the health benefits of using individualized guidelines proved to be easier than establishing the potential economic benefits. As Eddy explained, "There is no easy way to give a dollar estimate. It depends on too many factors about the particular settings in which individualized guidelines are implemented." He did estimate that "for the US as a whole they would likely be well over a $100 billion a year."
Eddy says making individualized guidelines easy to use is critical to their acceptance. He explains that physicians who use electronic health records should have little trouble implementing individualized guidelines. He cautions that a physician who uses paper records will need to manually enter patient information into the clinical information system, which would be a major barrier to the adoption of individualized guidelines.
Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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