Objective. To compare the effectiveness of an evidence-based, systematic approach to hypertension care involving comanagement of patients by primary care physicians and clinical pharmacists versus usual care in reducing blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.

Methods. Patients in a staff model medical group with uncontrolled hypertension were randomized to either a usual care (UC) or a physician-pharmacist comanagement (PPCM) group. All physicians in the study received both group and individual education and participated in the development of an evidence-based hypertension treatment algorithm. Physicians were then given the names of their patients whose medical records documented elevated blood pressures (defined as systolic ≥ 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic ≥ 90 mm Hg for patients aged < 65 yrs, and systolic ≥ 160 mm Hg and/or diastolic ≥ 90 mm Hg for those aged ≥ 65 yrs). Patients randomized to the UC group were managed by primary care physicians alone. Those randomized to the PPCM group were comanaged by their primary care physician and a clinical pharmacist, who provided patient education, made treatment recommendations, and provided follow-up. Blood pressure measurements, antihypertensive drugs, and visit costs/patient were obtained from medical records.

Results. One hundred ninety-seven patients with uncontrolled hypertension participated in the study. Both PPCM and UC groups experienced significant reductions in blood pressure (systolic −22 and −11 mm Hg, respectively, p<0.01; diastolic −7 and −8 mm Hg, respectively, p<0.01). The reduction in systolic blood pressure was greater in the PPCM group after adjusting for differences in baseline blood pressure between the groups (p<0.01). More patients achieved blood pressure control in the PPCM than in the UC group (60% vs 43%, p=0.02). Average provider visit costs/patient were higher in the UC than the PPCM group ($195 vs $160, p=0.02).

Conclusions. An evidence-based, systematic approach using physician-pharmacist comanagement for patients with uncontrolled hypertension resulted in improved blood pressure control and reduced average visit costs/patient.