Patients and physicians need to work together to get high blood pressure under control, new survey suggests


A majority of patients cannot recall whether their physician mentioned their blood pressure numbers, and among patients with high blood pressure, only 56% say they talked with their doctor about ways to reduce their high blood pressure, according to a new survey released on 29 November by the American Medical Group Foundation (AMGF), the non-profit education and research arm of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA).

The survey results were released at the launch event of “Measure Up, Pressure Down” an US healthcare campaign aimed at preventing, detecting and controlling high blood pressure. At the event, Regina M Benjamin, US general surgeon, talked about the public health challenge of lowering the nation’s blood pressure.

More than 120 medical groups and health systems including the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Kaiser Permanente have joined the campaign with the goal to have 80% of high blood pressure patients in control of their condition by 2016. AMGF is joined in this effort by supporting organisations including the US Department of Health and Human Services Million Hearts initiative, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Association of Black Cardiologists, and Institute for Health and Productivity Management.

Despite the fact that according to a CDC study, one in three (68 million) US adults have high blood pressure and less than half have their condition under control, 77% of the respondents to AMGF’s new survey said they are “confident their lifestyle choices will help keep their blood pressure in healthy level.”

These findings underscore the fact that high blood pressure is one of the nation’s most significant health issues. CDC says high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths a day and accounts for an estimated US$156 billion in healthcare services, medications and lost productivity. One of the most effective ways to control high blood pressure is for the patient to work with a coordinated health care team to get their condition under control. The team-based approach involves physicians, nurses, pharmacists, health coaches and other members of a medical team working together to provide the best level of care to patients.

“By challenging medical groups and health providers to raise the bar on high blood pressure care and control, we can make a radical difference in the health and wellbeing of our population,” said Donald W Fisher, president and CEO of AMGA and secretary of the Board of American Medical Group Foundation. “AMGA member medical groups are well positioned to successfully lead this critically important national effort. Their team-based approach to care offers a proven model for delivering quality, cost-effective care that improves patient outcomes.”

Medical groups and health systems participating in “Measure Up, Pressure Down” have pledged to work toward achieving the campaign’s goal by adopting one or more of the campaign planks, or care evidence-based care processes known to improve the quality of care for patients with high blood pressure care. AMGF developed eight planks based on best practices from AMGA’s two high blood pressure learning collaboratives and in consultation with the campaign’s National Steering Committee and Scientific Advisory Council. All 120 “Measure Up, Pressure Down” groups have agreed to do three things:

  • Work toward the goal of 80% of patients with high blood pressure in control.
  • Implement as many of the primary planks as possible with some groups adopting the value-add planks to achieve breakthrough results.
  • Report quarterly on blood pressure control rates to enable AMGF to evaluate campaign implementation and outcomes.

The campaign is sponsored by Daiichi Sankyo and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

“Daiichi Sankyo is excited to be a part of this campaign and help support the goal to reduce the burden of high blood pressure in the United States,” said Oliseyenum M Nwose, executive medical director, Medical Affairs, Therapeutic Areas Head, Hypertension and Metabolism at Daiichi Sankyo. “Many patients are still not controlled, which drives the need for more options – both pharmaceutical products and management tools. That is why we are committed to supporting proactive hypertension management efforts such as Measure Up, Pressure Down.” 

“Novartis Pharmaceuticals is proud to partner with the AMGF to tackle the significant health issue of hypertension,” said Kevin Rigby, vice president, Public Affairs & US Country Public Affairs Head, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.  “Our sponsorship of the Measure Up, Pressure Down campaign is an extension of our strong heritage in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. We are committed to not only providing effective medicines that treat hypertension, but also innovative programmes and services that help healthcare providers and patients manage their high blood pressure.” 

For more information about the “Measure Up, Pressure Down” campaign click here