Quality of care in patients with hypertension: a retrospective cohort study of primary care routine data in Germany

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Abstract

Background: Hypertension is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality if not properly managed. Primary care has a major impact on these outcomes if its strengths, such as continuity of care, are deployed wisely. The analysis aimed to evaluate the quality of care for newly diagnosed hypertension in routine primary care data. Methods: In the retrospective cohort study, routine data (from 2016 to 2022) from eight primary care practices in Germany were exported in anonymized form directly from the electronic health record (EHR) systems and processed for this analysis. The analysis focused on five established quality indicators for the care of patients who have been recently diagnosed with hypertension. Results: A total of 30,691 patients were treated in the participating practices, 2,507 of whom have recently been diagnosed with hypertension. Prior to the pandemic outbreak, 19% of hypertensive patients had blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg and 68% received drug therapy (n = 1,372). After the pandemic outbreak, the proportion of patients with measured blood pressure increased from 63 to 87%, while the other four indicators remained relatively stable. Up to 80% of the total variation of the quality indicators could be explained by individual practices. Conclusion: For the majority of patients, diagnostic procedures are not used to the extent recommended by guidelines. The analysis showed that quality indicators for outpatient care could be mapped onto the basis of routine data. The results could easily be reported to the practices in order to optimize the quality of care.

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Strumann, C., Engler, N. J., von Meissner, W. C. G., Blickle, P. G., & Steinhäuser, J. (2024). Quality of care in patients with hypertension: a retrospective cohort study of primary care routine data in Germany. BMC Primary Care, 25(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-024-02285-9

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