Want to give your healthcare IT operation a chance to shine in 2013? Consider entering the Million Hearts Challenge, which will honor US healthcare organizations that use a combination of information technology and medical practices to control hypertension among patients.
Million Hearts was launched this year as a joint initiative of the US Centers for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is a response to the results of the CDC's Vital Signs report, which found that nearly one in three American adults (67 million) has high blood pressure, and more than half of them (36 million) don’t have it under control.
Entrants to the 2013 contest will need to provide information about their practice, share their verifiable high blood pressure control data, and describe how the use of health information technology, such as electronic health records, incentives for providers and patients, team-based care, attention to medication use and persistence, and community involvement, contributed to success.
Two healthcare organizations were recognized this fall by the Million Hearts initiative as High Blood Pressure Control Champions, and they illustrate the combination of healthcare IT and clinical care needed to advance the cause.
Since January 2008, Denver-based Kaiser Permanente Colorado has improved the blood pressure control rate of its patients from 61 percent to 82.6 percent. Between 2007 and 2011, the Ellsworth Medical Clinic, in Ellsworth, Wisc., improved blood pressure control among patients with cardiovascular disease from 68 percent to 97 percent. As of August 2012, the practice had achieved a 90 percent control rate for all patients with hypertension.
According to the CDC, both systems credit the improvement to using electronic health records to track and monitor patients, sending email and phone reminders to increase medication adherence and encourage healthy lifestyle changes, and working closely with staff to prioritize high blood pressure control.
Is your healthcare organization ready to enter next year's Million Hearts contest? Why not create a steering committee now, including your IT team, doctors, nurses, and administrators, to get the ball rolling? You might save some lives in the process.