Skip to main content
Aisha James, Seth A. Berkowitz, Jeffrey M. Ashburner, Yuchiao Chang, Daniel M. Horn, Sandra M. O'Keefe, Steven J. Atlas
2018 April
Journal of General Internal Medicine 33(4): 463-470


BACKGROUND: Healthcare systems use population health management programs to improve the quality of cardiovascular disease care. Adding a dedicated population health coordinator (PHC) who identifies and reaches out to patients not meeting cardiovascular care goals to these programs may help reduce disparities in cardiovascular care. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a program that used PHCs decreased racial/ethnic disparities in LDL cholesterol and blood pressure (BP) control. DESIGN: Retrospective difference-in-difference analysis. PARTICIPANTS: Twelve thousdand five hundred fifty-five primary care patients with cardiovascular disease (cohort for LDL analysis) and 41,183 with hypertension (cohort for BP analysis). INTERVENTION: From July 1, 2014-December 31, 2014, 18 practices used an information technology (IT) system to identify patients not meeting LDL and BP goals; 8 practices also received a PHC. We examined whether having the PHC plus IT system, compared with having the IT system alone, decreased racial/ethnic disparities, using difference-in-difference analysis of data collected before and after program implementation. MAIN MEASURES: Meeting guideline concordant LDL and BP goals. KEY RESULTS: At baseline, there were racial/ethnic disparities in meeting LDL (p = 0.007) and BP (p = 0.0003) goals. Comparing practices with and without a PHC, and accounting for pre-intervention LDL control, non-Hispanic white patients in PHC practices had improved odds of LDL control (OR 1.20 95% CI 1.09-1.32) compared with those in non-PHC practices. Non-Hispanic black (OR 1.15 95% CI 0.80-1.65) and Hispanic (OR 1.29 95% CI 0.66-2.53) patients saw similar, but non-significant, improvements in LDL control. For BP control, non-Hispanic white patients in PHC practices (versus non-PHC) improved (OR 1.13 95% CI 1.05-1.22). Non-Hispanic black patients (OR 1.17 95% CI 0.94-1.45) saw similar, but non-statistically significant, improvements in BP control, but Hispanic (OR 0.90 95% CI 0.59-1.36) patients did not. Interaction testing confirmed that disparities did not decrease (p = 0.73 for LDL and p = 0.69 for BP). CONCLUSIONS: The population health management intervention did not decrease disparities. Further efforts should explicitly target improving both healthcare equity and quality. Clinical Trials #: NCT02812303 ( ).