Boston, November 19, 2020 — Fenway Health has been recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Medical Association (AMA) for their commitment to helping improve blood pressure (BP) control rates among the patient populations they serve, earning Gold level recognition as part of the 2020 Target: BP™ Recognition Program.
Hypertension (high BP) is a leading risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and preventable death in the U.S. In addition, there are 116 million U.S. adults living with high BP and less than half of those people have their BP under control – making both diagnosing and effectively managing hypertension critical. And following the Surgeon General’s Call-to-Action to prioritize hypertension control in the U.S. and research in JAMA showing that overall rates of BP control have declined in recent years, optimizing hypertension control could not be more timely or needed.
“The Gold Recognition for Target: BP means that of all our patients that have been diagnosed with hypertension, at least 70 percent of them have their blood pressure under control,” said Jessica Glushkina, MPH, Quality Improvement Analyst at Fenway Health. “That means that their blood pressure readings are under a certain number, which indicates that patients are managing their health and if necessary, taking their medications appropriately. This is a reflection of the quality of care we provide.”
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As Glushkina noted, Fenway’s Nursing Department expanded appointment types in 2019, which included hypertension nursing visits. Rachel Sharkey, RN, Nursing Staff Development/Education Coordinator, worked with our nurses to identify high risk hypertensive patients. Nursing staff then reached out to these patients with the goal of bringing them in for nursing appointments, educating them on how to manage their high blood pressure, and working with them to ultimately improve their overall health. In addition, Fenway will soon begin to contact a large segment of our adult patient population that is due for immunizations and lab work, including blood pressure readings.
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“When COVID-19 hit, our on-site visit volume drastically decreased, which meant a lack of BP readings in clinic among our patients,” Glushkina said. In order to combat this, the Nursing Department has already administered almost 300 digital blood pressure cuffs to our patients, with more to come.”
Target: BP is a national collaboration between the AHA and the AMA aimed at reducing the number of Americans who suffer from heart attacks and strokes each year by urging physician practices, health systems and patients to prioritize BP control. The initiative aims to help health care organizations improve BP control rates through use of the evidence-based AMA MAP BP™ quality improvement program, and recognizes organizations committed to improving blood pressure control.
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“The PCMH [patient centered medical home] team is continuously looking for ways to better engage our hypertensive patients and capture their blood pressure readings,” said Glushkina.