Can computerized clinical decision support systems improve practitioners' diagnostic test ordering behavior? A decision-maker-researcher partnership systematic review
Although absolute risk of death associated with raised blood pressure increases with age, the benefits of treatment are greater in elderly patients. Despite this, the 'rule of halves' particularly applies to this group. We conducted a randomised controlled trial to evaluate different levels of feedback designed to improve identification, treatment and control of elderly hypertensives. Fifty-two general practices were randomly allocated to either: Control (n=19), Audit only feedback (n=16) or Audit plus Strategic feedback, prioritising patients by absolute risk (n=17). Feedback was based on electronic data, annually extracted from practice computer systems. Data were collected for 265,572 patients, 30,345 aged 65-79. The proportion of known hypertensives in each group with BP recorded increased over the study period and the numbers of untreated and uncontrolled patients reduced. There was a significant difference in mean systolic pressure between the Audit plus Strategic and Audit only groups and significantly greater control in the Audit plus Strategic group. Providing patient-specific practice feedback can impact on identification and management of hypertension in the elderly and produce a significant increase in control.