The University of Cincinnati is hoping to help patients suffering from hypertension follow their medication procedures by implementing a series of informative lectures.
The series begins Tuesday at the Learning Exchange Center of the Cincinnati Veteran Affairs Medical Center and will be funded by a $50,000 award from the Ohio Partnership for Adherence through Collaborative Education (Pace) Foundation and Pfizer Inc.
The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, along with six other colleges of medicine in Ohio, comprises Ohio Pace. The Cincinnati VA Medical Center and James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy are also involved with Ohio Pace.
“Hypertension affects approximately one-in-three adults in the U.S.,” said Charuhas Thakar, associate professor of medicine. “[Hypertension] is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes. It is also associated with progression of chronic kidney disease leading to kidney failure.”
Thakar and his team plan to use the award to “improve the knowledge and ability of the provider to monitor and hopefully improve adherence to medications prescribed for hypertension,” he said.
Less than one third of hypertensive patients are optimally treated and sometimes unawareness of the condition will allow the hypertension to go unnoticed, Thakar said. Hypertension is a chronic condition, requiring dedication to treatment from both the provider and patient. Over time, suboptimal treatment may be administered. Additionally, some biological problems make optimal blood pressure treatment difficult.
“Our goal is to use both existing tools, as well as develop simple new tools so providers can assess adherence as close to real time as possible,” Thakar said. “ [The team is] targeting indirect measures of monitoring adherence — one based on [prescription] refill information via query of electronic medical records. ”
The team hopes the identification of poorly adherent patients will avoid unnecessary escalation of therapy, allowing medical providers to improve adherence using existing strategies, Thakar said. Some of these strategies are patient education, counseling, re-visiting side effect profiles and medication reconciliation.
“The effectiveness of these strategies and its impact on patient outcomes [will] be the next step of evaluation,” Thakar said.