Studying Blood Pressure Control

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors recently approved more than $20 million for studies that will use the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet) to improve care for people with high blood pressure but studies will also be undertaken for arthritis, depression, and irritable bowel disease.

Each of the four projects will actively foster relationships between researchers and stakeholders within PCORnet and in outside organizations, such as with large patient groups supporting research using PCORnet’s resources. Each study will also focus on linking disparate data sources to present a more complete picture of patient care.

The study to control blood pressure is very important since uncontrolled blood pressure causes nearly 400,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Although medications are available to control blood pressure and often multiple medications are required, but it is not always clear if and when medication changes are needed.

Patients and clinicians want better ways to measure and control blood pressure and at the same time, want to use fewer medications that are more convenient to take and cause fewer side effects. New programs and new technologies are now being developed to control blood pressure, but it is still not clear which medicine or technology will be the most effective.

PCORnet is working with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) on a study to be conducted at the University of California San Francisco with Mark Pletcher, MD as the Principal Investigator.

The study will examine and test two different ways of helping doctor’s control blood pressure. One way is to give doctors AMA and AHA materials to help improve their methods and perhaps use a practice facilitator to guide the doctors in the use of the materials. The nest step in the study is to test two different types of home blood pressure monitors. One type of monitor will connect with a smartphone, but the other type of monitor will not connect.

The study will also use data already collected in doctors’ offices including blood pressure measurements to see which offices are already successfully controlling their patients’ blood pressures and which offices have patients that need help.

The Health eHeart Alliance leading the project is a patient-powered research network. The Alliance will support and pay a patient advisory board to oversee the study, work with the three patient representatives on the steering committee, and have a voice in all major project decisions.

The contract for the project titled “Partnerships to Conduct Research within PCORnet” (PaCR) is budgeted for $6,488,179.

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