Hypertension campaign uses evidence-based care

March 5, 2013

National campaign aims to treat high blood pressure with evidenced-based care.

The risks of poorly controlled high blood pressure have been known for over a century, and effective treatments have been available for more than 50 years. Still, less than half of 67 million American adults with high blood pressure have their condition under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

High blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure and ranks among the leading causes of death. Nearly one in three American adults has high blood pressure, and the costs-including healthcare services, medications and missed days of work-are estimated at $156 billion annually. It is also one of the most common reasons for visiting a physician.

By 2030, an estimated 100 million adults in the United States will have high blood pressure, resulting in staggering increases in healthcare costs and disability as well as lost productivity.

Blood pressure control has been challenging, mainly because it is a silent condition. For this reason, patients might not adhere to recommended medication or lifestyle regimens, physicians might not treat hypertension as an urgent issue, and high blood pressure may not get the public recognition and “call to action” that other diseases receive.

CALL TO ACTION

Our current health system was designed to address acute medical problems, and chronic conditions require team-based, longitudinal care with advanced information technology and patient-centered care at its core.

The American Medical Group Assn. (AMGA) has seized the challenge with a national campaign called Measure Up, Pressure Down. AMGA members are leaders in delivering coordinated, team-based care-resulting in lower costs and better outcomes for patients-so they are uniquely positioned to lead the charge.

The goal of the three-year campaign is to get doctors, nurses and the entire healthcare team working together to achieve control of

the condition by 2016 for 80% of their high blood pressure patient population. So far, over 120 medical groups and health systems

delivering care to more than 40 million patients have already joined Measure Up, Pressure Down.

Groups participating in the campaign are asked to do three things:

  • Commit to the campaign’s goal of getting 80% of high blood pressure patients in control of their condition.

  • Implement one or more of the campaign planks, which are evidence-based care processes or steps known to improve the quality of care for patients with high blood pressure.

  • Report quarterly on blood pressure control rates for evaluation of implementation and outcomes.

Improving high blood pressure will require an expanded effort and increased focus from healthcare systems, clinicians and individuals.

Raising awareness among patients, communities, employers, policymakers and the media will also be necessary.

For this reason, AMGA has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative,

Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Association of Black Cardiologists and others.

This national quality initiative has the potential for improving care and empowering patients, saving lives and enhancing the quality of life for people living with high blood pressure and related chronic conditions. MHE