Following the National Cholesterol Educational Program's (NCEP) 1988 screening and treatment recommendations, an educational and behavior-change program at Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound (GHC) was developed to guide the use of lipid-lowering drugs within the larger context of cardiac risk reduction. The program has been successful in advancing a rational program to enhance care and manage costs of the use of lipid-lowering agents at GHC. Cost savings have been significant over the past two years. The educational design of the program includes training and ongoing education of a core group of "lipid gurus," who educate colleagues in area medical centers in a rational approach to hyperlipidemia. Patient education and patient participation in decision-making was emphasized. Program evaluation has demonstrated that physicians and patients are satisfied with the program, and inappropriate drug expenditures have been prevented. Key elements of the program include a critical review of outcome studies in the medical literature, use of information systems, algorithms and written materials organized into a well-designed, ongoing educational program, and development of a core group of physicians and pharmacists to administer the program at the clinic level.