Quality improvement program boosts blood pressure control

Primary care practices using a quality improvement program saw hypertension control rise from 65.6 percent to 74.8 percent over a six-month period.

More than 21,000 patients across 16 practices were studied as part of the “M.A.P.” program—measure accurately, act rapidly and partner with patients. The results of the research were presented Sept. 16 at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

One-third of American adults has high blood pressure, which contributes to heart attack, heart failure and stroke, among other problems.

“The goal of the M.A.P. is to make it easier for doctors and care teams to help people with hypertension effectively manage their blood pressure,” study author Michael Rakotz, MD, vice president of chronic disease prevention at the American Medical Association, said in a statement.

Among the uncontrolled patients at the start of the study, average blood pressure fell from 149/85 millimeters of mercury to 139/80. Also, each medication change during the study period was associated with a 14 mm Hg drop versus a 5.4 mm Hg drop when the change was made prior to the study. According to Rakotz, this suggests either patients were more compliant in taking their medications or the medications being prescribed were working better.

“M.A.P.’s evidence-based strategies offer an opportunity for primary care practices to work with patients to quickly improve blood pressure control,” he said. “And the initiative goes hand-in-hand with national programs focused on reducing the burden of heart disease and stroke.”