Translating guidelines into clinical practice has proved to be quite difficult, even when the guidelines are well accepted and noncontroversial. Both computerized reminders and academic detailing have been effective in changing physician prescribing behavior. In this study, we sought to use these methods, mediated by clinical pharmacists, to improve adherence to the secondary prevention guidelines in hospitalized patients with myocardial infarction.
A randomized, prospective study was performed in which computerized alerts identifying hospitalized patients with elevated troponin I levels were routed to clinical pharmacists. The pharmacists then conducted academic detailing for physicians caring for patients with acute myocardial infarction who were randomized to the intervention group. Patients in the control group received standard care. The main outcome measure was the proportion of patients discharged on a regimen of aspirin, β-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and statins.
The intervention had a significant impact on the proportion of patients discharged on a regimen of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (328/365 [89.9%] vs 409/488 [83.8%], intervention vs control, respectively, P = .02), and statins (344/365 [94.2%] vs 436/488 [89.3%], P = .02). There was no statistical impact on β-blocker (350/365 [95.9%] vs 448/488 [91.8%], P = .10) or aspirin use (352/365 [96.4%] vs 471/488 [96.5%], P = .87). When all 4 classes were considered together, 305 (83.6%) of 365 patients vs 343 (70.3%) of 488 patients were discharged on a regimen of all secondary prevention medications to which they did not have a contraindication (P<.001).
A computerized alert with pharmacist-mediated academic detailing is an effective means to increase adherence to secondary prevention guidelines for coronary heart disease.