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Targeting Blood Pressure Together

Monday, September 16, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Cherish Hart

Vice President, Health

American Heart Association, Puget Sound




Targeting Blood Pressure Control Together

The number of people we lose to heart disease and stroke each year could fill T-Mobile Park over 17 times. Think about the number of seats in the stadium and the impact of this number. These are friends and family members who are not around to enjoy an evening at the ballpark.


It’s time to get serious.

High blood pressure is a significant contributor to these losses. Nearly half of American adults – about 103 million people – are living with the silent killer, putting them at an increased risk.



Fortunately, high blood pressure can be treated and managed. As you know, maintaining lower blood pressure can reduce risks and lead to better outcomes. We’re counting on you, in your important role, to help raise awareness of high blood pressure’s impact and to work with your patients to help them get it controlled. Yet, you aren’t alone in this battle. Target: BP is a national initiative, launched by the American Heart Association and American Medical Association, that is here to help support your hypertension management efforts.


An opportunity for change

Most health care providers are confident in their ability to treat high blood pressure. They understand the condition, its causes and the approaches to treating it. However, individuals living with high blood pressure continue to rise as the time physicians can spend with each patient declines.


What’s more, you know that people living with high blood pressure often don’t have the necessary level of urgency surrounding their condition especially in the context of social and cultural influences that create barriers. It can be frustrating when patients don’t do everything they should be doing to get, and stay, healthy.


Given the current urgency, Target: BP raises awareness and provides additional tools and resources for physicians and their care teams to help the patients they treat. Target: BP can also help optimize the limited time health care providers have with patients to help them get healthier sooner.


In addition, Target: BP annually celebrates your efforts. Nearly 1,200 organizations are receiving 2019 recognition including our own Northwest Regional Primary Care Association and several member organizations such as Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic and International Community Health Services (see full list of recognized organizations).


Target: BP leverages the latest clinical evidence to make it easier for you to more effectively manage your patients with high blood pressure. The BP Improvement Program uses a team-based care approach where data drives improvement. Typically, within a six-month period, a practice that implements the BP Improvement Program can expect to see lower blood pressure and improved control rates in patients with hypertension.


The recipe for improvement has three main parts, which can be remembered using the acronym M.A.P.: Measure accurately; Act rapidly; and Partner with patients, families and communities.


Measure accurately

Accurately measuring blood pressure provides you with a higher degree of certainty when making a hypertension diagnosis or adjusting treatment. An important part of measuring blood pressure accurately is ensuring the patient is properly prepared and positioned when taking a blood pressure reading. Automated Office Blood Pressure (AOBP) machines can also make a big difference. It is highly recommended that patients with a potential new hypertension diagnosis have out-of-office confirmation of their elevated blood pressure before a diagnosis is made.



Act rapidly

Providers who act rapidly are encouraged to manage elevated blood pressures using an evidence-based treatment protocol and frequent follow-up visits until BP is controlled. All hypertension treatment protocols start with recommending a healthy, low-sodium diet and physical activity. When medication is needed and paired with a protocol, you and your patient work together to create an easy-to-follow plan to lower high blood pressure.


Partner with patients, families and communities

When providers partner with patients, families and communities, the relationship helps make it easier for people to manage their high blood pressure. Establishing self-monitoring programs and clinical-to-community linkages can help your patients increase the likelihood they will adhere to the treatment plan you prescribe for them.


Easy access to innovative resources

Visit targetbp.org as a first step in learning more about the Target: BP™ initiative and register your clinic to be part of the initiative. Resources include everything from patient handouts to regular webinars with continuing education credit. A few of the top resources are organized in this learning essentials guide. Never fear, the regional American Heart Association staff are ready to act as your guide to getting started in a way that meets you and your patients where you are--we’re in this together!








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