Checking blood pressure

Connecting rheumatology patients to primary care for high blood pressure

Connecting rheumatology patients to primary care for high blood pressure

High blood pressure is the most prevalent cardiovascular risk factor for rheumatology patients, yet blood pressures are not frequently addressed in specialty visits. Dr. Christie Bartels et al. developed the BP Connect Health protocol to address this issue by training medical assistants and nurses to (1) re-check high blood pressures, (2) advise patients about the link betweeen rheumatic and cardiovascular diseases, and (3) connect patients with timely primary care follow-up using electronic health record orders. In an analysis of the intervention, investigators found that the odds of timely primary care follow-up doubled and the media time to follow-up declined by nearly half, from 71 to 38 days. Additionally, the number of rheumatology visits with high blood pressure declined from 17% to 8% in the 2 years after the protocol was implemented, which suggests that the protocol resulted in population-level declines in high blood pressure. A free toolkit with the BP Connect Health protocol and tools to successfully implement it is available on HIPxChange here.

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