Rheumatology Clinic Staff Needs: Barriers and Strategies to Addressing High Blood Pressure and Smoking Risk

Patients with rheumatologic conditions are at elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to inflammatory and traditional risk factors, such as high blood pressure (BP) and smoking. However, rheumatology clinics rarely address traditional risk factors, although they are routinely assessed and modifiable in primary care. The present study from HIP Investigators Dr. Christie Bartels and Dr. Edmond Ramly sought to (1) characterize rheumatology clinic staff’s work process for addressing high BP and smoking and (2) identify barriers and strategies for effective management of these risk factors.

They conducted 7 focus groups with medical assistants, nurses, and scheduling staff from 4 adult rheumatology clinics across 2 health systems and identified generalizable gaps in rheumatology staff’s work processes and competencies for addressing high BP and smoking in patients.

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