Diagnosing Hypertension in Primary Care Clinics According to Current Guidelines

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Abstract

Purpose::

This descriptive study examines hypertension diagnostic practices in Utah primary care clinics relative to the 2015 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations for the accurate diagnosis of hypertension. We assessed clinic procedures in place to facilitate accurate in-office and out-of-office blood pressure (BP) measurement.

Methods::

An online questionnaire was administered to 321 primary care clinics. We compared current clinic BP measurement practices with the USPTF recommendations and assessed the level of adherence to the recommendations by level of clinic integration with a hospital.

Results::

Of the 321 primary care clinics that received the assessment, 123 (38.3%) completed the questionnaire. Clinics varied significantly in their ability to provide accurate in-office measurement, ranging from 57.5% to 93.5% of clinics complying with USPSTF recommendations. Only 25.2% of clinics reported having access to ambulatory monitoring and 36.6% had instructional materials for accurate home BP monitoring. Clinics integrated with a hospital were more likely to report adherence to recommendations than solo or independent clinics (36.4% vs 10.5%;P< .01).

Conclusion::

This assessment shows that many primary care clinics are not well prepared to implement the USPSTF guidelines for accurate diagnosis of hypertension. Most office practices will benefit from support to develop their capacities.

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