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Point-of-Care Option Makes Recommendations User-Friendly.

WASHINGTON -- Cholesterol management just got easier--at least for physicians.

The third wave of guidelines developed by the National Cholesterol Education Program comes with a technologic twist--physicians can download the guidelines to a Palm operating system for quick reference during office visits. Patients can be told at the point of care if their cholesterol numbers add up to a high risk for heart problems.

Usable tools are the biggest boost to implementing new guidelines, workshop participants said at a conference on cholesterol management sponsored by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The committee and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have developed a variety of tools to speed adoption of the National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines and to help physicians implement them in practice.

The cutting-edge tool in this case is the "downloadable" version of the guidelines available on the NHLBI Web site (www.nhlbi.nih.gov). If physicians load the guidelines on a Palm operating system, they can first determine the patient's fasting lipoprotein profile and then establish a risk category

Next, the physician can enter the patient's low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, and total cholesterol values, along with any risk factors. The program then asks for systolic blood pressure.

A tap on the "assess" button will calculate the risk for coronary heart disease. A tap on "LDL-lowering treatment" will call up the appropriate suggestions for therapeutic lifestyle changes, drug therapy, or both. The program also includes advice on implementing additional treatments based on patient progress at follow-up visits, according to participants at the conference, also sponsored by NHLBI.

For the less-technically inclined, the ATP III At-A-Glance Desk Reference walks physicians through step-by-step calculations of risk factors, determining a patient's risk category initiating treatment for lowering the LDL level, and treating elevated triglycerides.

The NHLBI Web site also offers an educational slide show about the guidelines geared to professional audiences with 103 slides to mix and match.

Finally, for definitive reference, the complete guidelines, including clinical evidence and references, are available on the Web site.
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Title Annotation:guidelines developed by the National Cholesterol Education Program can be downloaded to a Palm Pilot
Author:SPLETE, HEIDI
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:343
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