Improving blood pressure control through a clinical pharmacist outreach program in patients with diabetes mellitus in 2 high-performing health systems: the adherence and intensification of medications cluster randomized, controlled pragmatic trial.



Even in high-performing health systems, some patients with diabetes mellitus have poor blood pressure (BP) control because of poor medication adherence and lack of medication intensification. We examined whether the Adherence and Intensification of Medications intervention, a pharmacist-led intervention combining elements found in efficacy studies to lower BP, improved BP among patients with diabetes mellitus with persistent hypertension and poor refill adherence or insufficient medication intensification in 2 high-performing health systems.

Methods and results

We conducted a prospective, multisite cluster randomized pragmatic trial with randomization of 16 primary care teams at 5 medical centers (3 Veterans Affairs and 2 Kaiser Permanente) to the Adherence and Intensification of Medications intervention or usual care. The primary outcome was relative change in systolic BP (SBP), comparing 1797 intervention with 2303 control team patients, from 6 months preceding to 6 months after the 14-month intervention period. We examined shorter-term changes in SBP as a secondary outcome. The mean SBP decrease from 6 months before to 6 months after the intervention period was ≈9 mm Hg in both arms. Mean SBPs of eligible intervention patients were 2.4 mm Hg lower (95% CI: -3.4 to -1.5; P<0.001) immediately after the intervention than those achieved by control patients.


The Adherence and Intensification of Medications program more rapidly lowered SBPs among intervention patients, but usual-care patients achieved equally low SBP levels by 6 months after the intervention period. These findings show the importance of evaluating in different real-life clinical settings programs found in efficacy trials to be effective before urging their widespread adoption in all settings.

Clinical trial registration

URL: Unique identifier: NCT00495794.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Heisler, Michele, Timothy P Hofer, Julie A Schmittdiel, Joe V Selby, Mandi L Klamerus, Hayden B Bosworth, Martin Bermann, Eve A Kerr, et al. (2012). Improving blood pressure control through a clinical pharmacist outreach program in patients with diabetes mellitus in 2 high-performing health systems: the adherence and intensification of medications cluster randomized, controlled pragmatic trial. Circulation, 125(23). pp. 2863–2872. 10.1161/circulationaha.111.089169 Retrieved from

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Hayden Barry Bosworth

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Bosworth is a health services researcher and Deputy Director of the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT)  at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also Vice Chair of Education and Professor of Population Health Sciences. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing at Duke University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests comprise three overarching areas of research: 1) clinical research that provides knowledge for improving patients’ treatment adherence and self-management in chronic care; 2) translation research to improve access to quality of care; and 3) eliminate health care disparities. 

Dr. Bosworth is the recipient of an American Heart Association established investigator award, the 2013 VA Undersecretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (The annual award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers), and a VA Senior Career Scientist Award. In terms of self-management, Dr. Bosworth has expertise developing interventions to improve health behaviors related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, and depression, and has been developing and implementing tailored patient interventions to reduce the burden of other chronic diseases. These trials focus on motivating individuals to initiate health behaviors and sustaining them long term and use members of the healthcare team, particularly pharmacists and nurses. He has been the Principal Investigator of over 30 trials resulting in over 400 peer reviewed publications and four books. This work has been or is being implemented in multiple arenas including Medicaid of North Carolina, private payers, The United Kingdom National Health System Direct, Kaiser Health care system, and the Veterans Affairs.

Areas of Expertise: Health Behavior, Health Services Research, Implementation Science, Health Measurement, and Health Policy

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