A Method to Quantify Mean Hypertension Treatment Daily Dose Intensity Using Health Care System Data.

Min, Lillian; Ha, Jin-Kyung; Aubert, Carole E; Hofer, Timothy P; Sussman, Jeremy B; Langa, Kenneth M; Tinetti, Mary; Kim, Hyungjin Myra; Maciejewski, Matthew L; Gillon, Leah; Larkin, Angela; Chan, Chiao-Li; Kerr, Eve A; Bravata, Dawn; Cushman, William C (2021). A Method to Quantify Mean Hypertension Treatment Daily Dose Intensity Using Health Care System Data. JAMA Network Open, 4(1), e2034059. American Medical Association 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.34059

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Simple measures of hypertension treatment, such as achievement of blood pressure (BP) targets, ignore the intensity of treatment once the BP target is met. High-intensity treatment involves increased treatment burden and can be associated with potential adverse effects in older adults. A method was previously developed to identify older patients receiving intense hypertension treatment by low BP and number of BP medications using national Veterans Health Administration and Medicare Part D administrative pharmacy data to evaluate which BP medications a patient is likely taking on any given day.


To further develop and validate a method to more precisely quantify dose intensity of hypertension treatment using only health system administrative pharmacy fill data.

Design, Setting, and Participants

Observational, cross-sectional study of 319 randomly selected older veterans in the national Veterans Health Administration health care system who were taking multiple BP-lowering medications and had a total of 3625 ambulatory care visits from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013. Measure development and medical record review occurred January 1, 2017, through November 30, 2018, and data analysis was conducted from December 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020.

Main Outcomes and Measures

For each BP-lowering medication, a moderate hypertension daily dose (HDD) was defined as half the maximum dose above which no further clinical benefit has been demonstrated by that medication in hypertension trials. Patients' total HDD was calculated using pharmacy data (pharmacy HDDs), accounting for substantial delays in refills (>30 days) when a patient's pill supply was stretched (eg, cutting existing pills in half). As an external comparison, the pharmacy HDDs were correlated with doses manually extracted from clinicians' visit notes (clinically noted HDDs). How well the pharmacy HDDs correlated with clinically noted HDDs was calculated (using C statistics). To facilitate interpretation, HDDs were described in association with the number of medications.


A total of 316 patients (99.1%) were male; the mean (SD) age was 75.6 (7.2) years. Pharmacy HDDs were highly correlated (r = 0.92) with clinically noted HDDs, with a mean (SD) of 2.7 (1.8) for pharmacy HDDs and 2.8 (1.8) for clinically noted HDDs. Pharmacy HDDs correlated with high-intensity, clinically noted HDDs ranging from a C statistic of 92.8% (95% CI, 92.0%-93.7%) for 2 or more clinically noted HDDs to 88.1% (95% CI, 85.5%-90.6%) for 6 or more clinically noted HDDs.

Conclusions and Relevance

This study suggests that health system pharmacy data may be used to accurately quantify hypertension regimen dose intensity. Together with clinic-measured BP, this tool can be used in future health system-based research or quality improvement efforts to fine-tune, manage, and optimize hypertension treatment in older adults.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of General Internal Medicine (DAIM) > Clinic of General Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of General Practice and Primary Care (BIHAM)

UniBE Contributor:

Aubert, Carole Elodie


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




American Medical Association


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation




Christine Baumgartner

Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2021 14:37

Last Modified:

13 Mar 2021 20:46

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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