A successful physician training program in cholesterol screening and management

Brian W. Jack, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Kim M. Gans, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
William McQuade, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Larry Culpepper, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Anita Lasswell, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Anne L. Hume, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Patrick T. Dowling, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Richard A. Carleton, The Warren Alpert Medical School


Method. Thirty-six resident physicians received a blood cholesterol training program which included training in blood cholesterol screening using a fingerstick method and a desktop analyzer, diet assessment and counseling, and a management protocol for follow-up diet and drug treatment. The program also included feedback to residents about their blood cholesterol screening activity, incentives, and biweekly articles in the department newsletter. Results. Between 1986-1987 (baseline) and 1987-1988 (intervention), the percentage of the target patient population (ages 20-65 years, nonpregnant, not screened in the previous year) that was screened for hypercholesterolemia in this primary care practice increased from 16.2 to 23.2% [rate difference (RD) = 7.0; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 4.75-9.25]. The mean value of the screening tests decreased from 5.36 mmol/liter (207.2 mg/dl) to 5.08 mmol/liter (196.6 mg/dl; t = 2.98, P = 0.003) and the percentage of the population screened needing further evaluation decreased from 36.8 to 27.6% (RD 9.2; CI = 2.00-14.00). In the intervention year, compared with the baseline year, patients with a borderline blood cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors were more likely to have a follow-up test (28.8% vs 11.9%, RD = 16.9; 95% CI = 0.80-33.00) and the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol test was used less for screening (8.2% vs 19.4%, P < 0.0001). Conclusion. We conclude that this program was effectively integrated into a busy primary care practice, leading to improvement in blood cholesterol screening and management practices. © 1991.