Sharing risk management: an implementation model for cardiovascular absolute risk assessment and management in Australian general practice

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Abstract

Purpose

Despite considerable work in developing and validating cardiovascular absolute risk (CVAR) algorithms, there has been less work on models for their implementation in assessment and management. The aim of our study was to develop a model for a joint approach to its implementation based on an exploration of views of patients, general practitioners (GPs) and key informants (KIs).

Methods

We conducted six focus group (three with GPs and three with patients) and nine KI interviews in Sydney. Thematic analysis was used with comparison to highlight the similarities and differences in perspectives of participants.

Results

Conducting CVAR was seen as more acceptable for regular patients rather than new patients for whom GPs had to attract their interest and build rapport before doing so at the next visit. GPs' interest and patients' positive attitude in managing risk were important in implementing CVAR. Long consultations, good communication skills and having a trusting relationship helped overcome the barriers during the process. All the participants supported engaging patients to self-assess their risk before the consultation and sharing decision making with GPs during consultation. Involving practice staff to help with the patient self-assessment, follow-up and referral would be helpful in implementing CVAR assessment and management, but GPs, patients and practices may need more support for this to occur.

Conclusions

Multiple strategies are required to promote the better use of CVAR in the extremely busy working environment of Australian general practice. An implementation model has been developed based on our findings and the Chronic Care Model. Further research needs to investigate the effectiveness of the proposed model.

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