An expert panel is advising a team-based approach to controlling high blood pressure, a condition that affects 68 million American adults and costs the U.S. healthcare system more than $130 billion annually.
The Community Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, 11-member group appointed by the leadership of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued the recommendation based on a review of 77 studies. According to their findings, blood-pressure care and control improved when patients were treated by a primary-care physician working with a nurse, dietician, pharmacist and other professionals.
Team-based care was most effective when the members could make modifications to patients' medication regimen, the task force found.
"Adoption of this model throughout the United States would improve blood pressure control for the 68 million adult Americans who have high blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attack, stroke and other health problems," Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director, said in a news release
. "This analysis shows that when primary-care physicians and other healthcare professionals with different expertise and approaches work together to support their patients, they can find the right formula for getting blood pressure under control."
Full results of task force's review are expected in May 2013.