[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Clinical Crossroads
Clinician's Corner
November 7, 2007

A 63-Year-Old Man With Multiple Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Poor Adherence to Treatment Plans

Author Affiliations

Clinical Crossroads Section Editor: Margaret A. Winker, MD, Deputy Editor.


Author Affiliation: Dr Bodenheimer is Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 2007;298(17):2048-2055. doi:10.1001/jama.298.16.jrr70000

Mr P has long-standing hypertension, obesity, and diabetes mellitus and has experienced life-threatening cardiovascular events. Mr P is receiving evidence-based clinical care but has adhered to his medical regimen poorly and remains at considerable risk of future catastrophic cardiovascular events. Practicing evidence-based medicine should be a 5-step process: research uncovers the evidence, clinicians learn the evidence, clinicians use the evidence at every visit for every patient, clinicians make sure patients understand the evidence, and clinicians help patients incorporate the evidence into their lives. Research demonstrates, however, that clinicians do not use the evidence at every visit, patients may misunderstand what took place in the visit, and clinicians are not always effective in helping patients incorporate the evidence into their lives. These failures reflect the difficulty faced by clinicians attempting to address multiple issues while providing sufficient information and engaging in collaborative decision making during a brief clinical visit.