Despite compelling evidence of the benefits of treatment, hypertension is controlled in less than 1/4th of US citizens. Inadequate blood pressure control results in excess cases of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke and other diseases. While some of the reasons for poor blood pressure control are due to poor compliance on the part of patients, there is significant under-treatment of hypertension on the part of physicians. In 1 recent study, people with hypertension received less than 65% of recommended care. Translation of scientific knowledge from trials such as the Antihypertensive and Lipid Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial [ALLHAT] into clinical practice and improved health for patients is lagging. Heightened awareness of """"""""bottlenecks"""""""" in the translation of research knowledge into clinical practice has raised enthusiasm about using creative methods, including financial incentives, to improve translation. Indeed, pharmaceutical companies have been using financial incentives to change physician behavior for decades. Using a randomized controlled trial, we will test the effect of explicit physician-level financial incentives to promote translation of findings from the ALLHAT trial into clinical practice and improved control of hypertension in the primary care setting. A total of 130 primary care physicians will be randomized to 2 study arms: 1) physician-level financial incentive only + audit and feedback;and 2) audit and feedback only. Use of thiazide diuretics among eligible patients according to the ALLHAT study criteria and the proportion of patients achieving goal blood pressure according to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure goal will be the pdmary dependent variables. We will use analytic methods appropriate for a cluster-randomized trial, as patients are nested within physicians, who are further nested in hospitals. We will assess whether financial incentives are a cost-effective intervention. Findings from this study will provide critical information needed to implement methods of """"""""paying for performance"""""""" and will be directly applicable to such programs for the 40.5 million Medicare beneficiaries and the more than 18 million individuals cared for in staff-model health care delivery systems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Health Services Organization and Delivery Study Section (HSOD)
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Einhorn, Paula
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Baylor College of Medicine
Internal Medicine/Medicine
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United States
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