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Personalised physician learning intervention to improve hypertension and lipid control: randomised trial comparing two methods of physician profiling
  1. Patrick J O'Connor1,
  2. David J Magid2,
  3. JoAnn M Sperl-Hillen1,
  4. David W Price2,
  5. Stephen E Asche3,
  6. William A Rush3,
  7. Heidi L Ekstrom3,
  8. David W Brand2,
  9. Heather M Tavel2,
  10. Olga V Godlevsky3,
  11. Paul E Johnson4,
  12. Karen L Margolis1
  1. 1HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research and HealthPartners Centre for Chronic Care Innovation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente, Denver, Colorado, USA
  3. 3HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Patrick J O'Connor, HealthPartners Center for Chronic Care Innovation, 8170 33rd Ave. S., Mail Stop 21111R, Minneapolis, MN 55425, USA; patrick.j.oconnor{at}


Purpose To assess the impact of personalised physician learning (PPL) interventions using simulated learning cases on control of hypertension and dyslipidaemia in primary care settings.

Methods A total of 132 primary care physicians, 4568 eligible patients with uncontrolled hypertension, and 15 392 eligible patients with uncontrolled dyslipidaemia were cluster-randomised to one of three conditions: (a) no intervention, (b) PPL-electronic medical record (EMR) intervention in which 12 PPL cases were assigned to each physician based on observed patterns of care in the EMR in the previous year, or (c) PPL-ASSESS intervention in which 12 PPL cases were assigned to each physician based on their performance on four standardised assessment cases. General and generalised linear mixed models were used to account for clustering and to model differences in patient outcomes in the study arms.

Results Among patients with uncontrolled hypertension at baseline, 49.1%, 46.6% and 47.3% (p=0.43) achieved blood pressure (BP) targets at follow-up. Among patients with uncontrolled dyslipidaemia at baseline, 37.5%, 37.3% and 38.1% (p=0.72) achieved low density lipoprotein cholesterol targets at follow-up in PPL-EMR, PPL-ASSESS and the control group, respectively. Although systolic (BP) (p<0.001) and lipid (p<0.001) values significantly improved during the study, the group-by-time interaction term showed no differential change in systolic BP values (p=0.51) or lipid values (p=0.61) among the three study arms. No difference in intervention effect was noted when comparing the PPL-EMR with the PPL-ASSESS intervention (p=0.47).

Conclusions The two PPL interventions tested in this study did not lead to improved control of hypertension or dyslipidaemia in primary care clinics during a mean 14-month follow-up period. This null result may have been due in part to substantial overall improvement in BP and lipid control at the study sites during the study.

Trial registration number NCT00903071.

  • Decision support, computerized
  • Healthcare quality improvement
  • Chronic disease management

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