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Am J Manag Care 7:389-398.
MEDTAP International, Bethesda, MD, USA
OBJECTIVE: To examine the relation between blood pressure (BP) control and utilization and cost of healthcare resources.
STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective database study of managed care patients in New Mexico from January 1, 1996, to December 31, 1997.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We stratified 1000 hypertensive patients into categories based on average and maximum BP. Antihypertensive medication use and cost, number of physician visits, and interval between hypertension-related physician visits were determined.
RESULTS: Medication costs increased progressively across all BP categories from lowest to highest, and higher average systolic BP (SBP) was significantly correlated with increased cost (P .001). There were significant correlations between higher maximum BP and greater number of hypertension-related physician visits (P .001). Mean number of visits for BP groups was 5.5 fr patients with a maximum diastolic BP (DBP) or = 100 mm Hg (P or = 180 mm Hg averaged 9.7 visits, whereas those with a maximum SBP 120 mm Hg averaged 4.1 visits (P .001). Both SBP and DBP were sigficantly correlated with time to next visit (P < .001). Mean visitintervals ranged from 44 days for patients with an SBP or = 180 mm Hg (P .001). A similar ssociation was found between DBP and visit interval.
CONCLUSIONS: Poor control of hypertension is associated with higher drug costs and more physician visits. Aggressive treatment might help reduce managed care costs and resource utilization.
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