Improving Efficiency of the Barbershop Model of Hypertension Care for Black Men With Virtual Visits

J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Jun 22:e020796. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.120.020796. Online ahead of print.


Background The LABBPS (Los Angeles Barbershop Blood Pressure Study) developed a new model of hypertension care for non-Hispanic Black men that links health promotion by barbers to medication management by pharmacists. Barriers to scaling the model include inefficiencies that contribute to the cost of the intervention, most notably, pharmacist travel time. To address this, we tested whether virtual visits could be substituted for in-person visits after blood pressure (BP) control was achieved. Methods and Results We enrolled 10 Black male patrons with systolic BP ≥140 mm Hg into a proof-of-concept study in which barbers promoted follow-up with pharmacists who initially met each patron in the barbershop, where they prescribed BP medication under a collaborative practice agreement with the patrons’ physician. Medications were titrated during bimonthly in-person visits to achieve a BP goal of ≤130/80 mm Hg. Once BP goal was reached, visits were done by videoconference. Final BP and safety outcomes were assessed at 12 months. Nine patients completed the intervention. Baseline BP of 155±14/83.9±11 mm Hg decreased by -28.7±13/-8.9±15 mm Hg (P<0.0001). These data are statistically indistinguishable from prior LABBPS data (P=0.8 for change in systolic BP and diastolic BP). Hypertension control (≤130/80 mm Hg) was 67% (6 of 9), numerically greater than the 63% observed in LABBPS (P=not significant). As intended, the mean number of in-person visits decreased from 11 in LABBPS to 6.6 visits over 12 months. No treatment-related serious adverse events occurred. Conclusions Virtual visits represent a viable substitute for in-person visits, both improving pharmacist efficiency and reducing cost while preserving intervention potency. Registration URL:; Unique identifier: NCT03726710.

PMID:34155907 | DOI:10.1161/JAHA.120.020796