Individualized, patient-tailored clinical guidelines improve quality and cut costs, according to a study in the May 3 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Guidelines cut costs, offer better quality: study
Using existing data from a previous long-term study, the authors analyzed the effects of using simplified population-based guidelines for treating high blood pressure vs. an individualized approach that took into account factors such as a patient's risk of heart attack and stroke, comorbid conditions, as well as the probable effects of various treatments.
Population-based guidelines can have “undesired effects,” including misclassifying patients for certain treatments simply because they don't meet one threshold measurement, the study's authors wrote. But robust health information technology systems are often needed to get individualized guidelines and risk calculators up and running.
“Implementing individualized guidelines is most efficient in systems that have data warehouses or EHRs to automatically feed the required information to the calculator and display the results,” according to the study. “Individualized guidelines are an example of meaningful use of EHRs, and systems that have EHRs can implement these guidelines more rapidly than those who do not.”
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