The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Medical Association's Target: BP™ initiative has awarded Scott and White Health Plan (SWHP) Gold status for helping its members control high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. SWHP earned the honor by achieving a 70 percent or higher control rate among members diagnosed with uncontrolled hypertension thanks in part to an innovative approach.
"The focus on improving care for many chronic diseases like hypertension is patient engagement and patient self-management," says Emran Rouf, MD, MBA, vice president and medical director of SWHP. "SWHP has resources to help members focus on effective self-management, and now we are trying to examine the effectiveness of some of these educational tools and programs."
In 2017, SWHP participated in a quality improvement pilot project funded by the AHA to evaluate the impact of home blood pressure monitoring on the treatment of patients' high blood pressure. The project involved distributing home blood pressure monitors to 2,550 SWHP members with uncontrolled hypertension.
These members and their primary care physicians participated in the year-long project in which blood pressure readings taken at home were reviewed, monitored and used for better control of hypertension. Members logged their blood pressure readings and made them available to their care teams. A nurse, physician or other qualified member of the care team would review the results and determine if the patient needed follow-up care.
"We thought that home blood pressure monitoring could be a way to engage patients in their blood pressure management. Currently, home blood pressure readings are used at the discretion of the physicians and members, but recent guidelines are recommending the use of home blood pressure monitoring for initial diagnosis and ongoing management of hypertension," explains Dr. Rouf. "Furthermore, when a member monitors his or her blood pressure readings, engagement with the healthcare system begins."
After six months, a review of 700 participating SWHP members' medical data revealed improved hypertension control rates.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 million Americans have high blood pressure. Almost half of these individuals have uncontrolled hypertension, which is a leading cause of both heart disease and stroke.
"Soon, home blood pressure monitoring will be on everyone's radar screen," believes Dr. Rouf. "We take pride in being proactive and on the leading edge for patient engagement in hypertension control."
SWHP received the Target: BP Gold status award at a recent summit on hypertension hosted by the AHA and Texas Department of State Health Services in Houston.
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As the largest not-for-profit health system in the state of Texas, Baylor Scott & White promotes the health and well-being of every individual, family and community it serves. It is committed to making quality care more accessible, convenient and affordable through its integrated delivery network, which includes the Baylor Scott & White Health Plan, Baylor Scott & White Research Institute, the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance and its leading digital health platform – MyBSWHealth. Through 51 hospitals and more than 1,100 access points, including flagship academic medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and Temple, the system offers the full continuum of care, from primary to award-winning specialty care. Founded as a Christian ministry of healing more than a century ago, Baylor Scott & White today serves more than three million Texans. For more information, visit: BSWHealth.com