Background -- We evaluated a multifaceted, computerized quality improvement intervention for management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in Australian primary health care. After completion of a cluster randomized controlled trial, the intervention was made available to both trial arms. Our objective was to assess intervention outcomes in the post-trial period and any heterogeneity based on original intervention allocation.
Methods and Results -- Data from 41 health services were analyzed. Outcomes were (1) proportion of eligible population with guideline-recommended CVD risk factor measurements; and (2) the proportion at high CVD risk with current prescriptions for guideline-recommended medications. Patient-level analyses were conducted using generalized estimating equations to account for clustering and time effects and tests for heterogeneity were conducted to assess impact of original treatment allocation. Median follow-up for 22 809 patients (mean age, 64.2 years; 42.5% men, 26.5% high CVD risk) was 17.9 months post-trial and 35 months since trial inception. At the end of the post-trial period there was no change in CVD risk factor screening overall when compared with the end of the trial period (64.7% versus 63.5%, P=0.17). For patients at high CVD risk, there were significant improvements in recommended prescriptions at end of the post-trial period when compared with the end of the trial period (65.2% versus 56.0%, P < 0.001). There was no heterogeneity of treatment effects on the outcomes based on original randomization allocation.
Conclusions -- CVD risk screening improvements were not observed in the post-trial period. Conversely, improvements in prescribing continued, suggesting that changes in provider and patient actions may take time when initiating medications.