September 19, 2012
The Sacramento Bee reports that Kaiser Permanente Colorado received recognition from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for strides made in controlling hypertension among its members. Kaiser Permanente Colorado improved the percentage of its members controlling their hypertension from 61 percent in January 2008 to 82.6 percent currently.
HHS named Kaiser Permanente Colorado a 2012 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champion. The Million Hearts initiative is a partnership between the CDC and CMS, and includes a focus on better controlling blood pressure to prevent one million strokes and heart attacks by 2017. This award follows the CDC’s recent release of new data about the prevalence of hypertension in the U.S.
Kaiser Permanente credits its success to leveraging electronic medical records to identify patients at risk, better coordinating their care, and improving self-management. The five components of their strategy included:
- Creating registries to identify members with hypertension through their electronic medical records.
- Drafting actionable lists to identify which members did not have their blood pressure under control.
- Contacting those members whose blood pressure was not under control via phone and email, encouraging them to get blood pressure checks at least once a year and to make lifestyle changes.
- Employing evidence-based guidelines for managing hypertension at their medical offices. Primary care teams worked with pharmacy staff to develop long-term medication management programs for these members.
- Removing barriers for hypertension patients through no-copay blood pressure checks, and care teams who help members monitor their blood pressure at home.
Kaiser is keenly aware that the cooperation and coordination that occurred among their various staff members to achieve a common goal was foundational to success and made possible by strategic use of health information technology. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease congratulates Kaiser Permanente Colorado on its success and for sharing the secrets of success to serve as a model for other chronic disease control efforts.