Patient and practice perspectives can inform development of team-based approaches to improving blood pressure control in primary care. We used a community-based participatory research approach to assess patient and practice perceptions regarding the value of team-based strategies for controlling blood pressure in a rural North Carolina population from 2010 through 2012.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 41 adults with hypertension, purposely sampled to include diversity of sex, race, literacy, and blood pressure control, and with key office staff at 5 rural primary care practices in the southeastern US “stroke belt.” Interviews explored barriers to controlling blood pressure, the practice’s role in controlling blood pressure, and opinions on the use of team care delivery.
Patients reported that provider strategies to optimize blood pressure control should include regular visits, medication adjustment, side-effect discussion, and behavioral counseling. When discussing team-based approaches to hypertension care, patients valued verbal encouragement, calls from the doctor’s office, and the opportunity to ask questions. However, they voiced concerns about the effect of having too many people involved in their care. Practice staff focused on multiple, broad methods to control blood pressure including counseling, regular office visits, media to improve awareness, and support groups. An explicit focus of delivering care as teams was a newer concept.
When developing a team approach to hypertension treatment, patients value high-quality communication and not losing their primary relationship with their provider. Practice staff members were open to a team-based approach but had limited knowledge of what such an approach would entail.||en_US