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Web-based Team Care to Improve Hypertension Control: The e-BP Study and Beyond

Slide Presentation from the AHRQ 2011 Annual Conference

On September 20, 2011, Beverly Green made this presentation at the 2011 Annual Conference. Select to access the PowerPoint® presentation (1.3 MB).  

Slide 1

Web-Based Team Care to Improve Hypertension Control the e-BP Study and Beyond

Bev Green MD, MPH
Group Health Research Institute
No disclosures

AHRQ Innovations Web-site
Electronic Communications and Home Blood Pressure Monitoring to Improve Hypertension Control

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: R01HL075263-04
Special thanks to the e-BP, e-Care for Heart Wellness, and e-CHIP Teams

Slide 2

BP Remains Uncontrolled Even Though it is the Most Common Diagnosis in Primary Care

  • Hypertension is the most common diagnosis made in primary care.*
  • In primary care practices only ½ of patients with a hypertension diagnosis have a blood pressure (BP) below target**.
  • 90% of patients with hypertension have health insurance***.

* Hsiao CJ, Cherry DK, Beatty PC, Rechtsteiner EA. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2007 summary. Natl Health Stat Report 2010(27):1-32

** Belletti DA, Zacker C, Wogen J. Hypertension treatment and control among 28 physician practices across the United States: results of the Hypertension: Assessment of Treatment to Target (HATT) Study. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich) 2010;12(8):603-12

*** Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2/4/11. Vital Signs Prevalence, Treatment, and Control of Hypertension.

Slide 3

Why is Blood Pressure Control So Low in Primary Care?

  • Physician Issues: Is it therapeutic inertia?
    • Tyranny of the urgent.
    • The omnipresence of the complex.
    • A desire to provide patient-centered care.
    • Ability to recognize contextual alerts.
    • Evidence takes a long time to get to the front lines.
  • Patient Factors: Is it adherence?
    • Costs of medications, fear of medications, so many medications.
    • Lifestyle is hard.
    • Priorities (pay now for something in the future).
    • Going to the doctor takes time (and a co-pay).
    • Co-factors depression, substance abuse.

Slide 4

Image: A medication caution label is shown.

Slide 5

The Electronic Communications and Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Trial (e-BP).

We wanted to know whether a new model of care that engages patients more in there own care, by taking it out of the office and into their homes led to improved BP.

  • Home BP monitor and use of an existing patient Web site.
  • This plus pharmacist care management (delivered via the patient Web site).

Slide 6

The e-BP Intervention Components were Based on the Chronic Care Model

Image: The Chronic Care Model is shown.

An image of Ed Wagner is shown.

Slide 7

The External and Internal Context and Individuals (and Adoption)

  • Setting = Group Health Cooperative
    • Integrated Healthcare Delivery System.
    • Provides healthcare insurance to over 700,000 patients in Washington and both healthcare insurance and comprehensive care to the over 375,000 patients that receive their care within its 26 owned primary care medical centers.
  • These clinics all have an integrated comprehensive electronic health record (EHR) and patients have access to this and other services via a secure patient Web portal (MyGroupHealth).
  • Each clinic also has its own clinical pharmacists—that were already used to do population based care for chronic conditions (and were enthusiastic about doing more).
  • 10 clinics were asked to participate in the e-BP study and all agreed.

Slide 8

Patient Web Portal

Image: A screen shot of is shown.

  • Secure messaging.
  • Medication refills.
  • Viewing portions of their medical record.
  • Health information.
  • Links to Group Health and community resources.

Slide 9

Patient Adoption Has Been Rapid

  • The secure patient Web portal (myGroupHealth) was "turned on" November 2002.
Adult patients (age 18 and over) Registered
(Has used member ID to navigate site)
(Secure Password)
June 1, 2005
(beginning of e-BP study)
44.0% 28.3%
November 1, 2010 73.4% 63.7%
  • 1/3 of Group Health clinic visits are now "virtual" (secure E-mail).
  • Group Health has1.4 million e-mail encounters per year.

Slide 10

Patients are Very Satisfied with MyGroupHealth

An image of the bar chart labeled Figure 4: MyGroupHealth Member Satisfaction Survey is shown.

Slide 11

Finding Patients with Uncontrolled Blood Pressure

  • Automated databases:
    • Diagnosis of hypertension and were on anti-hypertensive medications.
    • No exclusionary health conditions (serious illnesses, heart disease, diabetes).
  • Telephone Survey:
    • Access to a computer, the Internet, and an e-mail address.
  • Screening Visits (2):
    • Uncontrolled HTN at both visits (BP >140 mm Hg systolic or >90 mm Hg diastolic at both visits)

Slide 12

Recruitment: (reach)

  • 22% did not have Web access (2005-6), those without access were*:
    • Had lower levels of education ( < high school degree RR = 3.22 [2.67-3.87])
    • Were older (age 65-75 adjusted RR = 2.27 [1.92-2.67] )
    • Were more likely to be from a racial minority group (African American compared adjusted RR= 1.38 [1.22 -1.66])
  • 53% of patients with HTN remaining eligible agreed to a screening visit.
  • 63% had controlled BP (average BP < 140/90 at 2 visits).

Final sample (computer able—uncontrolled BP)

  • 778 patients randomized (12% of those sampled and 64% remaining eligible).

*Green BB, Anderson ML, Ralston JD, Catz S, Fishman PA, Cook AJ. Patient Ability and Willingness to Participate in a Web-based Intervention to Improve Hypertension Control. J Med Internet Res 2011; 13 (1):e1

Slide 13


  • 22% did not have Web access (2005-6), those without access*:
    • Had lower levels of education (< high school degree compared to college graduate, (adjusted RR = 3.22 [2.67-3.87])
    • Were older (age 65-75 years compared to 40-54, adjusted RR = 2.27 [1.92-2.67] )
    • Were more likely to be from a racial minority group (African American compared too Caucasian, adjusted RR= 1.38 [1.22 -1.66])
  • 53% of hypertensive patients still eligible agreed to a screening visit.
  • 63% had controlled BP (average BP < 140/90 at 2 visits) (risk factors for lack of BP control African American race, overweight or obese).

Final sample (computer able—uncontrolled BP)

  • 778 patients randomized (11% of those sampled and 64% of those remaining eligible).

*Green BB, Anderson ML, Ralston JD, Catz S, Fishman PA, Cook AJ. Patient Ability and Willingness to Participate in a Web-based Intervention to Improve Hypertension Control. J Med Internet Res 2011; 13 (1):e1

Slide 14

Group 1: Usual Care

  • Registered to use the existing patient Web site.
  • Received Group Health Pamphlets ("High BP Basics" and "The No Waiting Room").
  • Told BP not in control and to work with their physician to improve control.

Slide 15

Group 2: Home BP and Web Only (self-care management support only)

  • Usual Care plus.
  • BP monitor and training.
  • Web training.

Slide 16

Group 3: Web Pharmacist Care (included all the components of the Chronic Care Model)

Clinical Pharmacists: experience with care management, registry database work, and electronic medical record in day to day work (apart from front line work).

Pharmacist Training:

  • Evidence based hypertension guidelines and stepped medication protocols.
  • Information Systems: registry database and EMR documentation.
  • Patient-centered communication styles.

Ongoing meetings with me, the pharmacist lead, and a behavioral psychologist (every 2 weeks initially, then every month).

Slide 17


Web Communications—Action Plan

Smart Phrase: eBP1stActPlan


Here is your current action plan:

1. BP monitoring:

Measure your BP at least 2 times each week (with two BP measurements each time). Choose two days of the week that are easy to remember, like Saturday and Thursday or Monday and Friday and a time that is convenient, by making a regular time it will be easier to remember.

  • Remember to: (refer to your e-BP notebook for more detailed instruction.
  • Avoid exercise, caffeine, and tobacco for at least 30 minutes before you take your measurement.
  • Remove tight fitting clothing from your upper arm.
  • Sit in a comfortable position with your legs and back supported.
  • Rest quietly for at least two minutes. Wait at least two minutes between BP measurements.
  • Place your arm on a table or desk so that your arm is at the level of your heart.
  • I will be sending you a secure message asking you for your BP measurements.

2. Medications:

Your current medications are on ***

If these are not correct please let me know.

3. Lifestyle Changes:

You decided to work on ***

You might want to check out some Group Health Resources such ***

4. Assessment Your average BP was 148/84. The next step would be to increase your dose of xx

Let me know if you have any concern about this plan

5. Follow-up Plan:

Please go to a Group Health Lab to have: ***

I will send you a reminder to send me more BP readings in 2 weeks.


Slide 18


Ongoing Pharmacist Care-Management

  • Web communications every 2 weeks for the first 3 months or until the BP is in control.
  • Stepped medication changes per protocol.
  • Continuing Web communications about medication adherence and lifestyle goals, linked patients to information, Group Health and community programs.
  • Clinical concerns and deviations from the medication protocol pharmacist transferred to patient's primary care physician.

Slide 19

BP control at 12 Months

  Control BPM-Web Only BPM-Web-Pharm
All 31% 36% 56%*
Systolic BP at baseline >160 20% 26% 54%*

*P < 0.001 compared to UC and BPM-Web.

Green BB, Cook AJ, Ralston JD, Fishman PA, Catz SL, Carlson J, Carrell D, Tyll L, Larson EB, Thompson, RS. Effectiveness of Home Blood Pressure Monitoring, Web Communication, and Pharmacist Care on Hypertension Control. JAMA 2008; 299:2857-67.

Slide 20


Supports a "New Model of Care" (Maintenance within Group Health)

  • Bringing care out of the office and into patients' homes.
    • More active participation by the patient in their own care.
    • Shared electronic health records.
    • Asynchronous communications.
  • Team care—Collaborative Care.
    • Pharmacists (and nurses).
    • We are currently testing a model that uses Web-based Collaborative Dietitian Care.
  • Cost-effective, cost saving?
  • This type of care is now a standard part of Group Health's Patient-Centered Medical Home.
  • Can this model work in community practices?

Slide 21


E-CHIP: Electronic Communications and Improving Hypertension in Community Practices

  • Will the e-BP model of care will work within typical community practices?
  • We have been doing preliminary work to present the model, establish relationships, learn from providers, staff, and patients about potential barriers and facilitators for using Web-collaborative care.
    • What type of provider would be best to provide collaborative care? "I always felt a clinical pharmacist in the building is a good idea to assist with and moving some of the care offsite electronically is a next step."
    • How best to adapt the clinic's current EHRs for secure messaging? "that patient portal part wasn't part of our initial funding for the EMR. Part number 1 was the business product, part number 2 was the electronic medical record, part number 3 is actually the patient portal where patients send secured message back and forth."
    • How to sustain Web Pharmacist Care? "I like the idea of using the pharmacist if we could come up with a business model".

Slide 22


Challenges in Dissemination and Implementation of e-BP:

  • External Context
    • Fee for Service—only face to face visits physicians are currently compensated (pharmacist and virtual care are not covered).
    • Patients want this but not everyone can participate.
  • Internal Context
    • Few primary care clinics, even those with EHR's have patient portals.
    • Few primary care clinics, have collaborative care teams, very few have "in-house pharmacists".
  • Individuals
    • "Relationship" is a critical for success—between stakeholders and staff. It takes time to establish these and to understand their structural and social networks.

Slide 23


Re-AIM Applying it to the e-CHIP Community Adaptation

  • Adoption—will clinics adopt this model? Meaningful use, accountable care might be some incentives. Patient demand another.
  • Reach—There will be Web access disparities: will the use of proxies, cell phones, assistance from community health workers fix this. Other adaptations will be necessary. Team care can be also be delivered over the phone, in person, by texting—communications.
  • Implementation—As e-EP is translated to community setting to what degree will their be fidelity in implementation of its core components. If adaptations are made, are they beneficial or do they decrease the benefits of the intervention.
  • Effectiveness—does BP control improve in the adapted e-CHIP model?
  • Maintenance—to what degree can the adapted model be maintained over time? Reimbursement is likely to be a big factor.

Glasgow RE, Magid DJ, Ritzwoller D, Estabrooks PA. Practical Clinical Trials for Translating Research to Practice. Design and Measurement Recommendations. Medical Care 2005; 43:551-557.

Slide 24


Opportunities and Challenges

  • Patients want Web access to their healthcare*.
  • Patients are highly satisfied with Web services.
  • Team-based care for hypertension improves treatment outcomes. Long-term outcomes are less certain.
  • Team care can be delivered in person, in community settings, on the phone, and virtually. Comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness are needed.
  • Most reimbursement policies do not support team or Web-based patient. New models are being tested.

* Disparities need to be addressed.

Slide 25

Questions for the Audience

  • Using population-based approaches to identify people with uncontrolled BP has been difficult and makes it hard to scale up our intervention. Using elevated BPs in the EMR did not help us. Many had controlled BP when rescreened. In rolling this out to the delivery systems physician referral has been low.
    • Has anyone in the audience tried other methods for identifying people with uncontrolled hypertension and enrolling them in programs?
  • Our innovation was performed in an integrated healthcare delivery system, that both provides healthcare insurance and care. This model provides a business care for team-based care. We also already had a patient Web portal with a shared EMR
    • What types of barriers and solutions have you experienced in delivering team care?
    • Have any of you had experience using patient owned electronic health records (PHRs) such as HealthVault? What has been positive or negative about this?

Disparities in access to the Web is an issue.

  • What do you think are some of the best ways for addressing this?
Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: Web-based Team Care to Improve Hypertension Control: The e-BP Study and Beyond. October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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