Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Intensive support to improve clinical decision making in cardiovascular care: a randomised controlled trial in general practice
  1. B D Frijling1,
  2. C M Lobo2,
  3. M E J L Hulscher1,
  4. R P Akkermans1,
  5. B B van Drenth1,
  6. A Prins2,
  7. J C van der Wouden2,
  8. R P T M Grol1
  1. 1Centre for Quality of Care Research, University of Nijmegen, P O Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of General Practice, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr B D Frijling, Centre for Quality of Care Research, University of Nijmegen, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands; 


Objective: To evaluate the effects of feedback reports combined with outreach visits from trained non-physicians on the clinical decision making of general practitioners (GPs) in cardiovascular care.

Design: Pragmatic cluster controlled trial with randomisation of practices to support (intervention group) or no special attention (control group); analysis after 2 years.

Setting: 124 general practices in The Netherlands.

Participants: 185 GPs.

Main outcome measures: Compliance rates for 12 evidence-based indicators for the management of patients with hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, angina pectoris, or heart failure. The evaluation relied on the prospective recording of patient encounters by the participating GPs.

Results: The GPs reported 30 101 clinical decisions at baseline and 22 454 decisions after the intervention. A significant improvement was seen for five of the 12 indicators: assessment of risk factors in patients with hypercholesterolaemia (odds ratio 2.04; 95% CI 1.44 to 2.88) or angina pectoris (3.07; 1.08 to 8.79), provision of information and advice to patients with hypercholesterolaemia (1.58, 1.17 to 2.13) or hypertension (1.55, 1.35 to 1.77), and checking for clinical signs of deterioration in patients with heart failure (4.11, 2.17 to 7.77). Single handed practices, non-training practices, and practices with older GPs gained particular benefit from the intervention.

Conclusions: Intensive support from trained non-physicians can alter certain aspects of the clinical decision making of GPs in cardiovascular care. The effect is small and the strategy needs further development.

  • cardiovascular disease
  • decision making
  • general practice
  • quality improvement

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


Linked Articles

  • Action points
    Tim Albert