Large-Scale Program Improves Blood Pressure Control
Program implemented by Kaiser Permanente in California helps patients with high blood pressure achieve better results.
Fewer than half of Americans with high blood pressure have their condition under control but we have the power to change that, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
This study evaluated a novel, large-scale program in California aimed at helping patients with hypertension get their blood pressure under control. Implemented in 2001 by Kaiser Permanente Northern California, one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in the country, this program had five major components: a hypertension registry, strict reporting, clear treatment guidelines, required follow-up visits, and a combination therapy requiring just one pill a day. Together, these simple yet effective strategies helped identify patients with high blood pressure and provided a clear treatment plan, which could be implemented within a large group of patients.
After tracking the program from 2001 to 2009, researchers found that it was largely successful in promoting blood pressure control compared to current treatment standards. During this eight-year period, more than 650,000 patients with high blood pressure were flagged by the hypertension registry and enrolled into the program. Although blood pressure control was relatively low at the beginning of the study period (43.6%), blood pressure control nearly doubled to 80.4% by 2009. And these rates were significantly higher than both state and national averages (64.1% and 69.4%, respectively) for blood pressure control among individuals with hypertension.
What’s most promising about the Kaiser Permanente hypertension program is that it was successfully implemented on a large scale. We know that a number of therapies can successfully treat high blood pressure, but not all can be easily implemented in practice. Not only did this program help patients achieve better blood pressure control, it did so with more than half a million patients. And with 65 million Americans currently affected by high blood pressure, we need programs like this that can easily and effectively identify patients with hypertension and help control their condition.
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Questions for You to Consider
- Who is at risk for high blood pressure?
- Risk for hypertension increases with age, and most adults will eventually be affected by this condition at some time in their lives. However, diabetes, obesity, stress, high sodium intake, tobacco use and excessive alcohol use can greatly increase risk for high blood pressure.