Implementation of recommendations on hypertension: The Canadian Hypertension Education Program
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The diffusion of research evidence or practice guidelines does not, by itself, lead to changes in practice behaviour or patient outcomes. The Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) was specifically structured to have an explicit process to improve the ability of primary care professionals to use CHEP recommendations. The key features of this process are reviewed in the present report. The responsibility for implementation of recommendations is divided between the executive committee of CHEP and the Implementation Task Force (ITF). The executive develops an extensive array of summaries and implementation tools for the recommendations, and encourages and facilitates other organizations to develop educational materials and programs. The ITF creates further implementation tools, tailors the tools to specific health care disciplines and creates discipline-specific dissemination strategies. Currently, CHEP recommendations are disseminated through updated full scientific manuscripts, short scientific and clinical summaries, one-page handouts, wall posters, pocket cards, advertisements, extensive slide kits, textbooks, didactic lectures and workshops. A Web site with the recommendations in different formats is maintained to allow easy access. More recently, media releases have been used to alert the public and health care professionals to important recommendations. The transparent and interactive annual process of developing the recommendations by most of Canada's clinical hypertension experts is also viewed as critical to providing uniform educational messages to health care professionals from national and local opinion leaders. The CHEP ITF includes primary care disciplines and specialties important to blood pressure control. The CHEP process for the implementation of recommendations is very extensive and continues to evolve. There is early evidence for improvement in the management of hypertension in Canada that coincides with the initiation of CHEP, suggesting that CHEP could serve as a model for disease management recommendations.
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