(HealthDay News) – For practices enrolled in the Guideline Advantage program that aims to reduce risks for chronic disease, there is considerable variation in hypertension and hyperlipidemia control and in tobacco screening, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2013 Scientific Sessions, held from May 15–17 in Baltimore.

Zubin Eapen, MD, from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and colleagues used data from the Guideline Advantage nationwide quality improvement program for outpatient care to examine practice-level variation in adherence to the Million Hearts clinical quality measures for controlling hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and tobacco abuse. Data were reviewed for 115,737 patients (median age, 63 years) enrolled in 18 U.S. practices, of which 56.3% had hypertension, 58.6% had hyperlipidemia, and 7.6% had diabetes mellitus.

The researchers found that hypertension control varied from 58.7–75.1% and hyperlipidemia control ranged from 53.8–100% among patients with diabetes mellitus, across the 18 practices. In addition, the variation in tobacco abuse screening and intervention ranged from 53.8–86.1%.

“Previously, we’ve focused on improving the quality of inpatient hospital care and haven’t explored enough how to improve outpatient care,” Eapen said in a statement. “This baseline snapshot lets us see just how much progress could be made in preventing or managing diseases.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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