J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011;13:517–522. ©2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
An increased focus on hypertension prevention and control, especially in high-risk populations, may have a substantial impact on cardiovascular health outcomes. A continuing medical education (CME) program trained primary care providers in evidence-based guidelines for hypertension prevention and control. This study evaluated its effectiveness in reducing patients’ blood pressure for the sessions occurring from 2003 to 2007. Using the Hypertension Initiative Database, 8183 patients of CME providers (CME patients) were paired with controls and changes in blood pressure, provider visits, prescription months, and the proportion of patients with blood pressure <140/90 mm Hg before and after the intervention date were estimated. In the 2-year period before training and the 2-year period afterwards, CME patients’ systolic blood pressure decreased by 1.99 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure decreased by 1.49 mm Hg. The CME patients displayed an increase in provider visits but no statistically significant change in prescription months. Restricting the analysis to the subsample of patients with uncontrolled hypertension (>140/90 mm Hg), the changes in blood pressure were similar in magnitude to those in the entire population. The CME program, by promoting evidence-based practice, improves patients’ blood pressure and could serve as a positive model for future hypertension interventions.