Assessment of time to follow-up visits in newly-treated hypertensive patients using an electronic medical record database

Diana I. Brixner, Carrie McAdam-Marx, Xiangyang Ye, Helen Lau, Mark A. Munger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Use of electronic medical record (EMR) data for evaluating healthcare processes and outcomes is relatively new. Using EMR data, this study evaluated the time from antihypertensive initiation to the first follow-up office visit controlling for adverse events (AEs) and other factors that could influence follow-up timing. Findings were compared to treatment guidelines which recommend monthly follow-up in treatment naive patients until blood pressure (BP) levels are controlled. Research design and methods: Treatment-nave hypertensive adult patients in the General Electric Centricity EMR database (19962006) with a new antihypertensive prescription were evaluated. Time from treatment initiation to first office visit was identified and stratified by occurrence of AEs and therapy change. BP was assessed at 120±30 days. Results: The mean±SD time from first antihypertensive prescription (index date) to the first office visit was 96.2±160.6 days; 38 returned within a month of treatment initiation. Controlling for baseline demographic and clinical characteristics, the adjusted time until first office visit was shorter for those with an AE and therapy change than for those with neither event (61 vs. 158 days). Of the patients with follow-up BP data for analysis (n27875), more of those seen within a month of treatment initiation achieved BP goal at 120 days (<140/90mmHg) than those who were not seen within a month (64.3 vs. 61.7 respectively; p<0.001). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that EMR data can be used to assess quality measures which in turn can inform efforts to improve treatment outcomes. Specifically, this study evaluated mean time to first office visit after antihypertensive therapy initiation controlling for clinical factors that could influence office visit intervals based on data available in a national EMR dataset. A key limitation of this study is that the EMR may not represent patient care delivered by other providers, thus, use of antihypertensives, changes in therapy, and office visits may be underreported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1891
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Basic studies
  • Cardiovascular pharmacology
  • Health policy and outcome research
  • Hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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