The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week launched an annual challenge designed to identify and honor clinicians and health care teams that have helped their patients control high blood pressure and prevent heart attacks and strokes.
The Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge recognizes exemplary public and private practices and providers that achieve sustained hypertension control rates of 70 percent or above. The challenge was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in support of Million Hearts, an HHS initiative aimed at preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
“Many heart attacks and strokes — and needless early deaths — can be prevented if we get better control of high blood pressure,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We applaud the many medical practices which have made hypertension control a daily priority with all of their patients. We look forward to recognizing their achievements and learning from top performing practices.”
Nearly one in three U.S. adults -– or about 70 million people –- has high blood pressure. Of that group, only about half has it under control. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death nationwide. In 2013, high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 360,000 Americans -– that is nearly 1,000 deaths each day.
Blood pressure management, a key strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease, is strongly emphasized by Million Hearts. Since 2012, Million Hearts has recognized 41 Champions that care for 12 million patients from small and large, urban and rural, and private, federal, and tribal health practices and systems. Past winners have used a variety of evidence-based strategies including hypertension treatment protocols, self-measured blood pressure monitoring, health information technology, and team-based care.