Public Release: 

PCORI approves Group Health for $2.8 million research funding award

With Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute support, Dr. Beverly Green will test how best to confirm new hypertension cases

Group Health Research Institute

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IMAGE: Beverly B. Green, M.D., M.P.H., a Group Health Physician and Group Health Research Institute associate investigator, will lead BP-CHECK. view more

Credit: Group Health Research Institute

SEATTLE--A research team at Group Health Research Institute has been approved for a $2.8 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to compare three methods for measuring blood pressure (BP) for confirming a new diagnosis of hypertension (BP-CHECK). The principal investigator is Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH, a Group Health Physician and Group Health Research Institute associate investigator.

Since its founding nearly 70 years ago, Group Health has looked to innovations to pursue a mission to deliver quality health care. Today, Group Health and its Group Health Research Institute are known for using evidence-based medicine to provide its more than 625,000 members with some of the nation's best health care and health plans.

How best to diagnose hypertension

Almost one in three Americans have hypertension, a leading risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease, which is the most common cause of avoidable death and disability in the United States. Hypertension is usually diagnosed in a medical office when a patient has blood pressure (BP) that is high for several measurements. But about 30 percent of patients with high BP in clinic have normal BP outside of clinic. This is called "white coat hypertension."

"Correct diagnosis of hypertension is important to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure--and also to avoid making people worry or take medicines when they don't need to," Dr. Green said.

To avoid misdiagnosis of hypertension, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF, which makes national recommendations about disease screening) recommends that people have 24-hour BP ambulatory BP monitoring (a cuff and BP monitor worn for 24 hours with measurements taken every 30 minutes during the day and every 60 minutes at night), with home BP monitoring over several days as an alternative. But most patients have never heard of ambulatory BP monitoring, and physicians rarely order it. Doctors sometimes use home BP, but not according to recommended guidelines. BP kiosks, for example at drugstores, offer another option. Newer models are accurate and easy to use.

BP-CHECK will identify Group Health patients aged 18-85 with high BP at their last clinic visit and at a screening visit (510 patients) to one of three groups: (1) clinic BP, (2) home BP, or (3) kiosk BP measurements for confirming a new diagnosis of hypertension. It will compare the accuracy and acceptability (comfort and convenience) of each method compared to 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring. "Our study team includes patients, providers, leaders, and experts who will help as advisors to assure our study is done well and helps patients and health care providers to improve the care of high BP," Dr. Green said.

"We are thrilled to work on behalf of PCORI to further research on use of blood pressure checks in the new diagnosis of hypertension," said Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, Group Health vice president for research and Group Health Research Institute executive director. "The outcome of this study promises to help Group Health members and all Americans to learn better ways to improve their health."

"This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other stakeholders, but also for its potential to fill an important gap in our health knowledge and give people information to help them weigh the effectiveness of their care options," said PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD, MPH. "We look forward to following the study's progress and working with Group Health Research Institute to share the results."

BP-CHECK was selected for PCORI funding through a highly competitive review process in which patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders joined clinical scientists to evaluate the proposals. Applications were assessed for scientific merit, how well they will engage patients and other stakeholders, and their methodological rigor among other criteria.

Dr. Green's award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and issuance of a formal award contract.

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PCORI

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. For more information about PCORI's funding, visit http://www.pcori.org.

Group Health Research Institute

Group Health Research Institute does practical research that helps people like you and your family stay healthy. The Institute is the research arm of Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative, which offers a unique health care system, care delivery, and health coverage, in order to achieve one goal--affordable, quality health care for all. Our innovative practices at 25 medical centers and within major Washington hospitals have earned national recognition for medical quality, disease prevention, and evidence-based treatments. These priorities have remained the same since we began serving patients in 1947. The Institute has conducted nonproprietary public-interest research on preventing, diagnosing, and treating major health problems since 1983. Government and private research grants provide its main funding. Follow Group Health research on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or YouTube. For more information about Group Health, visit http://www.ghc.org.

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