The National Service Framework (NSF) for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) requires practices to establish registers of patients with CHD and to implement audits of care for these patients. Little is known about the potential health impact of registers and audits. We therefore looked at the impact of establishing such systems on patients with CHD at Cleveleys Group Practice. All patients with CHD are recorded on a computerised register that is used to recall patients for an annual review to nurse-led clinics. Data from annual audits are used to estimate the number of adverse events prevented in the practice by the use of effective medications.
We found that the use of effective treatments was estimated to save approximately 27 lives and prevent 30 non-fatal myocardial infarctions each year. The increased use of effective treatments after the introduction of the register coincided with a reduction in average levels of systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol, preventing two deaths and three non-fatal myocardial infarctions each year. Based on the best available evidence from randomised controlled trials, the benefit of this care to a practice population is substantial.
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