Electronic Letters Help Cardiac Patients Stay Healthy

After discharge from management program, CAD patients maintain cholesterol goals

TUESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Coronary artery disease patients who have been discharged from a pharmacy cardiovascular disease management service can still maintain their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) goals with the help of electronic reminder letters, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Managed Care.

Kari L. Olson, of Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Aurora, and colleagues randomized 421 prior coronary artery disease patients in the Clinical Pharmacy Cardiac Risk Service (CPCRS, a system that combines electronic health records with patient outreach, education, lifestyle adjustments, and medication management) to continue in the program or be discharged to receive usual care from their primary care physicians plus electronic reminder letters about tests for which they were due.

After 1.7 years of follow-up, the researchers found 91 percent of patients in the CPCRS and 93.1 percent in the usual-care group maintained LDL-C goals of less than 100 mg/dL. Also, 68.6 percent in CPCRS and 56.8 percent in usual care maintained LDL-C goals of less than 70 mg/dL. Even the patients discharged from the program were able to keep their risk factors under control with the help of the electronic reminder letters.

"This study demonstrates that the majority of patients will maintain lipid and blood pressure goals after discharge from such programs with minimal, systematic follow-up. The ability to discharge well-controlled patients from a disease management program may permit expanding care to other high-risk patients without the need for additional resources," the authors conclude.

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Andrea Mongler

Andrea Mongler

Updated on August 11, 2009

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