Measure, Act and Partner (M.A.P.) to help patients control blood pressure and ultimately prevent heart disease.

Improving blood pressure control

  • Michael Rakotz, MD, FAAFP AMA
AMA in partnership with
CME Credits: 1.0

How will this module help me control my patients' blood pressure?

  1. Learn about the evidence-based M.A.P. framework to obtain accurate blood pressure readings, reduce clinical inertia and encourage patient self-management to improve blood pressure control
  2. Identify answers to commonly asked questions
  3. Learn what practices are doing to successfully monitor and control patients' blood pressure

CME accreditation information 

One in three US adults has hypertension. With such a high prevalence rate, it is likely that most primary care practices treat many patients with this condition. Most people with hypertension are aware of their condition, but only about half have their blood pressure under control. People with uncontrolled blood pressure may not be aware that it is the leading cause of premature death in the world. Clinicians need simple and effective ways to improve hypertension control in their patient populations.

Improving blood pressure control in primary care
Release Date: June 2015
End Date: June 2019

Objectives

At the end of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Measure blood pressure more accurately
  2. Act rapidly to treat blood pressure that is not controlled
  3. Use evidence-based communication strategies
  4. Instruct patients to properly self-measure blood pressure
  5. Instruct patients to follow evidence-based lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure

Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of practicing physicians.

Statement of Need

Currently, only 54 percent of the estimated 80 million US adults with hypertension have their blood pressure under control. Most patients with hypertension do have a usual source of care and do see the doctor at least once a year. Physicians failing to escalate therapy during a visit or scheduled follow up (clinical inertia) are felt to be leading factors contributing to lack of blood pressure control in the US. Another common factor includes patient non-adherence to therapy (medications and lifestyle recommendations). The leading cause of clinical inertia by physicians is clinical uncertainty, largely centered on the accuracy and reliability of blood pressure measurements. Evidence has demonstrated that improved blood pressure measurement techniques and use of standardized protocols for obtaining multiple blood pressures, both in and out of the office, increases diagnostic accuracy and reliability of blood pressure measurements. Through use of the Measure accurately checklist and tools, combined with those from Act rapidly and Partner with patients, families and communities, clinical inertia can be reduced and at the same time patients can be empowered to self-manage their disease.

Statement of Competency

This activity is designed to address the following ABMS/ACGME competencies: practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communications skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, interdisciplinary teamwork and quality improvement.

Accreditation Statement

The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement

The American Medical Association designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Claiming Your CME Credit

To claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, you must 1) view the module content in its entirety; 2) successfully complete the quiz answering 4 out of 5 questions correctly and 3) complete the module.

Planning Committee

  • Rita LePard – CME Program Committee, AMA
  • Ellie Rajcevich, MPA – Practice Development Advisor, Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability, AMA
  • Sam Reynolds, MBA – Director, Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability, AMA
  • Christine Sinsky, MD – Vice President, Professional Satisfaction, American Medical Association and Internist, Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans, Dubuque, IA
  • Krystal White, MBA – Program Administrator, Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability, AMA

Author(s)

  • Michael Rakotz, MD, FAAFP – Director, Chronic Disease Prevention, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA

Faculty

  • Romsai Tony Boonyasai, MD, MPH – Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Lisa A. Cooper, MD, MPH – James F. Fries Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Director, Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities
  • Omar Hasan, MBBS, MPH – Vice President, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Linda Murakami, MSHA, RN – Improvement Specialist, Improving Health Outcomes Strategies, AMA
  • Michael Rakotz, MD, FAAFP – Director, Chronic Disease Prevention, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Kathryn Taylor, RN, MPH – Johns Hopkins Medicine, Senior Research Nurse Program Manager, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
  • Matthew K. Wynia, MD, MPH – Director, Physician and Patient Engagement, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA

Acknowledgments

  • Sara Alafogianis, MPA – Project Manager, Physician and Patient Engagement, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Shahid A. Choudhry, PhD – Senior Program Manager, Physician and Patient Engagement, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Donna Daniel, PhD – Director, Improving Health Outcomes Strategies, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Valerie Hartman, MS – Johns Hopkins Medicine, Instructional Content Specialist, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
  • Katy Heneghan, MPH – Project Manager, Collaborations, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Erika Hoogesteger, MBA – Improvement Specialist, Improving Health Outcomes Strategies, AMA
  • Marsha Kaufman, MSW – Director, Collaborations, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Lisa Lubomski, PhD – Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
  • Jill Marsteller, PhD, MPP – Associate Professor, Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Mavis Prall, MSJ, MS – Director, Information and Engagement, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA
  • Gregory Wozniak, PhD – Director, Outcomes Analytics, Improving Health Outcomes, AMA

About the Professional Satisfaction, Practice Sustainability Group

The AMA Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability group has been tasked with developing and promoting innovative strategies that create sustainable practices. Leveraging findings from the 2013 AMA/RAND Health study, “Factors affecting physician professional satisfaction and their implications for patient care, health systems and health policy,” and other research sources, the group developed a series of practice transformation strategies. Each has the potential to reduce or eliminate inefficiency in broader office-based physician practices and improve health outcomes, increase operational productivity and reduce health care costs.

About the Improving Health Outcomes Group

The AMA's Improving Health Outcomes area is tackling two of the nation's most prevalent issues: cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Beginning with a focus on risk factors for these conditions, the AMA is helping physicians and care teams to control high blood pressure and prevent diabetes—two disease burdens that cost the US health care system more than 500 billion dollars annually. With work already underway to engage organized medicine, the private/public sector, the federal government and local communities, the AMA is adding its resources and skill in orchestrating effective collaborative efforts to help improve the health of the nation.

Disclosure Statement

The content of this activity does not relate to any product of a commercial interest as defined by the ACCME; therefore, neither the planners nor the faculty have relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Media Types

This activity is available to learners through Internet and Print.

Hardware/software Requirements

Adobe Flash 9.0.115 or above
Audio speakers or headphones
Screen resolution of 800X600 or higher
MS Internet Explorer 8.0 or higher, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.
Adobe Reader 5.0 or higher

References

  1. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics‑2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Jan 2015;27;131(4):434‑441.
  2. Mathers C, Stevens G, Mascarenhas M. Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2009. Available at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/global_health_risks/en/index.html. Accessed January 12, 2010.
  3. Campbell NR, Berbari AE, Cloutier L, et al. Policy statement of the World Hypertension League on noninvasive blood pressure measurement devices and blood pressure measurement in the clinical or community setting. J Clin Hypertens. 2014;16(5):320‑322.
  4. O'Brien E, Asmar R, Beilin L, et al. European Society of Hypertension recommendations for conventional, ambulatory and home blood pressure measurement. J Hypertens. 2003;21(5):821‑848.
  5. Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, et al. Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals: part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans: a statement for professionals from the Subcommittee of Professional and Public Education of the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research. Circulation. 2005;111(5):697‑716.
  6. van Montfrans GA, van der Hoeven GM, Karemaker JM, Wieling W, Dunning AJ. Accuracy of auscultatory blood pressure measurement with a long cuff. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1987;295(6594):354‑355.
  7. Bovet P, Hungerbuhler P, Quilindo J, Grettve ML, Waeber B, Burnand B. Systematic difference between blood pressure readings caused by cuff type. Hypertension. 1994;24(6):786‑792.
  8. Fonseca‑Reyes S, de Alba‑Garcia JG, Parra‑Carrillo JZ, Paczka‑Zapata JA. Effect of standard cuff on blood pressure readings in patients with obese arms. How frequent are arms of a 'large circumference'? Blood Press Monit. 2003;8(3):101‑106.
  9. Linfors EW, Feussner JR, Blessing CL, Starmer CF, Neelon FA, McKee PA. Spurious hypertension in the obese patient. Effect of sphygmomanometer cuff size on prevalence of hypertension. Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(7):1482‑1485.
  10. Maxwell MH, Waks AU, Schroth PC, Karam M, Dornfeld LP. Error in blood‑pressure measurement due to incorrect cuff size in obese patients. Lancet. 1982;2(8288):33‑36.
  11. Nielsen PE, Larsen B, Holstein P, Poulsen HL. Accuracy of auscultatory blood pressure measurements in hypertensive and obese subjects. Hypertension. 1983;5(1):122‑127.
  12. Russell AE, Wing LM, Smith SA, et al. Optimal size of cuff bladder for indirect measurement of arterial pressure in adults. J Hypertens. 1989;7(8):607‑613.
  13. Netea RT, Lenders JW, Smits P, Thien T. Both body and arm position significantly influence blood pressure measurement. J Hum Hypertens. 2003;17(7):459‑462.
  14. Netea RT, Lenders JW, Smits P, Thien T. Influence of body and arm position on blood pressure readings: an overview. J Hypertens. 2003;21(2):237‑241.
  15. Netea RT, Elving LD, Lutterman JA, Thien T. Body position and blood pressure measurement in patients with diabetes mellitus. J Intern Med. 2002;251(5):393‑399.
  16. Mitchell PL, Parlin RW, Blackburn H. Effect of vertical displacement of the arm on indirect blood‑pressure measurement. N Engl J Med. 1964;271:72‑74.
  17. Netea RT, Lenders JW, Smits P, Thien T. Arm position is important for blood pressure measurement. J Hum Hypertens. 1999;13(2):105‑109.
  18. Adiyaman A, Tosun N, Elving LD, Deinum J, Lenders JW, Thien T. The effect of crossing legs on blood pressure. Blood Press Monit. 2007;12(3):189‑193.
  19. Foster‑Fitzpatrick L, Ortiz A, Sibilano H, Marcantonio R, Braun LT. The effects of crossed leg on blood pressure measurement. Nurs Res. 1999;48(2):105‑108.
  20. Peters GL, Binder SK, Campbell NR. The effect of crossing legs on blood pressure: a randomized single‑blind cross‑over study. Blood Press Monit. 1999;4(2):97‑101.
  21. Cushman WC, Cooper KM, Horne RA, Meydrech EF. Effect of back support and stethoscope head on seated blood pressure determinations. Am J Hypertens. 1990;3(3):240‑241.
  22. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Self‑Measured Blood Pressure Monitoring: Actions Steps for Clinicians. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2014. http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/Docs/MH_SMBP_Clinicians.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2015.
  23. Marx GF, Orkin LR. Overdistention of the urinary bladder during and after anaesthesia. Can Anaesth Soc J. 1966;13(5):500‑504.
  24. Campbell NR, McKay DW. Accurate blood pressure measurement: why does it matter? CMAJ. 1999;161(3):277‑278.
  25. Sala C, Santin E, Rescaldani M, Magrini F. How long shall the patient rest before clinic blood pressure measurement? Am J Hypertens. 2006;19(7):713‑717.
  26. Handler J, Zhao Y, Egan BM. Impact of the number of blood pressure measurements on blood pressure classification in US adults: NHANES 1999‑2008. J Clin Hypertens. 2012;14(11):751‑759.
  27. James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 evidence‑based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507‑520.
  28. Godwin M, Birtwhistle R, Seguin R, et al. Effectiveness of a protocol‑based strategy for achieving better blood pressure control in general practice. Fam Pract. 2010;27(1):55‑61.
  29. Go AS, Bauman MA, Coleman King SM, et al. An effective approach to high blood pressure control: a science advisory from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension. 2014;63(4):878‑885.
  30. Mancia G, Fagard R, Narkiewicz K, et al; Task Force Members. 2013 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension: the Task Force for the management of arterial hypertension of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). J Hypertens. 2013;31(7):1281‑1357.
  31. Handler J, Lackland DT. Translation of hypertension treatment guidelines into practice: a review of implementation. J Am Soc Hypertens. 2011;5(4):197‑207.
  32. Naik AD, Rodriguez E, Rao R, Teinert D, Abraham NS, Kalavar J. Quality improvement initiative for rapid induction of hypertension control in primary care. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010;3(5):558‑564.
  33. Feldman RD, Zou GY, Vandervoort MK, Wong CJ, Nelson SA, Feagan BG. A simplified approach to the treatment of uncomplicated hypertension: a cluster randomized, controlled trial. Hypertension. 2009;53(4):646‑653.
  34. Gradman AH, Basile JN, Carter BL, Bakris GL, American Society of Hypertension Writing Group. Combination therapy in hypertension. J Clin Hypertens. Mar 2011;13(3):146‑154.
  35. Jamerson K, Weber MA, Bakris GL, et al. Benazepril plus amlodipine or hydrochlorothiazide for hypertension in high‑risk patients. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(23):2417‑2428.
  36. Jaffe, MG, Lee GA, Young JD, Sidney S, Go AS. Improved blood pressure control associated with a large‑scale hypertension program. JAMA. 2013;310(7):699‑705.
  37. Cooper LA, Roter DL, Carson KA, et al. A randomized trial to improve patient‑centered care and hypertension control in underserved primary care patients. J Gen Intern Med. 2011;26(11):1297‑1304.
  38. Ogedegbe G, Chaplin W, Schoenthaler A, et al. A practice‑based trial of motivational interviewing and adherence in hypertensive African Americans. Am J Hypertens. 2008;21(10):1137‑1143.
  39. Schillinger D, Piette J, Grumbach K, et al. Closing the loop: physician communication with diabetic patients who have low health literacy. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(1):83‑90.
  40. Agarwal R, Bills JE, Hecht TJ, Light RP. Role of home blood pressure monitoring in overcoming therapeutic inertia and improving hypertension control: a systematic review and meta‑analysis. Hypertension. 2011;57(1):29‑38.
  41. Uhlig K, Patel K, Ip S, Kitsios GD, Balk EM. Self‑measured blood pressure monitoring in the management of hypertension: a systematic review and meta‑analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(3):185‑194.
  42. Bosworth HB, Powers BJ, Olsen MK, et al. Home blood pressure management and improved blood pressure control: Results from a randomized controlled trial. ArchIntern Med. 2011;171:1173‑1180.
  43. Eckel R, Jakicic J, Ard JD, et al; American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25 Pt B):2960‑2984.
  44. Handler J. The importance of accurate blood pressure measurement. The Permanente Journal/ Summer 2009/ Volume 13 No. 3 51

Introduction

Why is controlling hypertension so vital?

One in three US adults—about 80 million people1—has hypertension. With such a high prevalence of hypertension in the US, it is likely that your practice treats many patients with this condition. Most people with hypertension are aware of their condition, but only about half have their blood pressure under control.1 People with uncontrolled blood pressure may not be aware that it is the leading cause of premature death in the world.2 Clinicians like you need simple and effective ways to tackle hypertension in your patient population.

Help patients control blood pressure introduction

M.A.P. to improve blood pressure control

The American Medical Association and Johns Hopkins Medicine, in collaboration with clinical care teams from ten practices and health centers, formed an initiative called “Improving health outcomes: Blood pressure,” and created the “M.A.P. to improve blood pressure control.”

M.A.P. stands for:

  1. Measure blood pressure accurately
  2. Act rapidly to manage uncontrolled blood pressures
  3. Partner with patients, families and communities

The M.A.P. framework addresses common barriers to hypertension control, such as:

Benefits:

You and your care team can improve the accuracy of blood pressure measurement through teamwork, improved communication and using standardized protocols. Measuring blood pressure accurately leads to reliable diagnosis and efficient and appropriate treatment.

Evidence–based treatment protocols encourage consistent delivery of care and help formalize the treatment plan, including reassessment schedules. Clinical teams with well‑communicated plans will achieve greater success in improving blood pressure control.

Finally, patients who proactively participate in managing their hypertension tend to have better blood pressure control. By committing to lifestyle and behavior changes, taking medications as prescribed and participating in self‑measurement of blood pressure, patients can make significant contributions to their overall health and well‑being.

We thought we were doing a good job treating patients with hypertension, however we are more aware of the many patients that are not at goal. We learned a lot from the initiative. It's been a great experience.

Practicing physician

Three steps to help patients improve blood pressure control

  1. 1

    Measure blood pressure accurately

    When screening patients for high blood pressure (BP) in the office:

    • Use a validated, automated device to measure BP3
    • Use the correct cuff size on a bare arm4-12
    • Ensure the patient is positioned correctly4,5,13-21

    If the initial office blood pressure is ≥140/90 mm Hg, obtain confirmatory measurements:

    • Repeat screening steps above
    • Ensure patient has an empty bladder4,5,23
    • Ensure patient has rested quietly for at least five minutes4,5,24,25
    • Obtain the average of at least three BP measurements4,5,26
  • How do I know if the cuff size is correct?

    A properly fitted cuff should have a bladder length that is 80 percent of the circumference of the arm, and a width that is at least 40 percent of the circumference of the arm. Measure arm circumference with a tape measure around the mid-arm at the bicep. Although the lines on cuffs for proper fit are correct when the patient's arm falls in the middle of the range, they are not 100 percent reliable, and less so at the upper and lower limits of what each cuff size allows. See Table 1 for guidance on selecting the appropriate cuff size for your patient.

    Table 1. Cuff sizes for accurate blood pressure measurement22
    ADULT ARM CIRCUMFERENCE RECOMMENDED CUFF SIZE (WIDTH x LENGTH)
    22 to 26 cm 12 x 22 cm (small adult)
    27 to 34 cm 16 x 30 cm (adult)
    35 to 44 cm 16 x 36 cm (large adult)
    45 to 52 cm 16 x 42 cm (adult thigh)
    > 52 cm Use a validated wrist cuff
  • Why does taking multiple measurements matter?

    Increasing the number of blood pressure readings may increase diagnostic accuracy. If the initial office blood pressure measured is ≥ 140/90 mm Hg, the chance of a misclassification of hypertension is significantly increased.26 An average of three blood pressure readings is recommended.

  • Why is patient positioning important?

    Several factors must be considered to accurately measure blood pressure, including body positioning (see Table 2). Dangling feet off of an exam table can raise systolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg. Emphasize to your patients that proper technique and body positioning be followed for every blood pressure measurement, both in and out of the office.

    Table 2. Common problems that account for inaccurate blood pressure measurement
    WHEN THE PATIENT HAS… BP CAN APPEAR HIGHER BY…
    Cuff over clothing 5-50 mm Hg44
    A full bladder 10 mm Hg44
    A conversation or is actively listening 10 mm Hg44
    Unsupported arm 10 mm Hg5,44
    Unsupported back/feet 6.5 mm Hg44
    Cuff too small 2-10 mm Hg44
    Crossed legs 2-8 mm Hg5

    Apply these evidence-based tips for correct positioning of the patient to all blood pressure measurements.

    Ensure the patient is seated comfortably and the following conditions are met:

    1. Back supported
    2. Legs uncrossed with feet flat on the floor/supported with a stool
    3. Arm supported with the BP cuff at heart level
    4. No one should be talking during the measurement
    Correct blood pressure measurement position Correct blood pressure measurement position

    Get more tips for measuring blood pressure accurately with this office blood pressure poster for staff.

  1. 2

    Act rapidly to treat blood pressures that are not controlled

    To treat uncontrolled blood pressure:

    If the patient has blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg confirmed:

    • Use an evidence‑based protocol to guide treatment27-29
    • Re-assess patient every two to four weeks until BP is controlled30-32
    • Whenever possible, prescribe single pill combination (SPC) therapy33-36

    Evidence-based protocols typically include the following tasks:27-29

    • Counsel on and reinforce lifestyle modifications
    • Ensure early follow‑up to monitor blood pressure and add preferred medications in a step‑wise fashion, until BP is controlled
    • For most patients, give preference to the following medication classes:
      • Thiazide diuretics
      • Dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers
      • ACE inhibitors (ACEI)
      • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB)
    • Do not prescribe both ACEI and ARB to same patient
    • If BP ≥160/100 mm Hg, start therapy with two medications or a single pill combination
  • What are the benefits of prescribing single pill combination therapy?

    Single pill combination therapies make it easier for patients to fill and take blood pressure prescriptions. From 2001 to 2009, Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) instituted a comprehensive quality improvement program that resulted in an improvement in control of blood pressure at goal from 44 percent to 80 percent.36 Single pill combination therapy (lisinopril and hydrochlorothiazide, ACEI-HCTZ) was stressed as part of the program. From 2001‑2009, the percentage of angiotensin‑converting enzyme inhibitor prescriptions dispensed as a SPC (in combination with a thiazide diuretic) increased from < 1 percent to 27.2 percent (see Figure 1).36 During this time period, prescriptions for the lisinopril‑hydrochlorothiazide combination pill rose from 13 prescriptions per month to 23,144 prescriptions per month.36 This shift in prescribing habits was a significant contributor to the success of the KPNC program.

    Figure 1. Percentage of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor prescriptions dispensed as single pill combination ACEI-HCTZ combination tablets for Kaiser Permanente Northern California members between 2001 and 2009

    Reprinted with permission from JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.

  1. 3

    Partner with patients, families and communities

    To empower patients to control their blood pressure:

    • Engage patients using evidence-based communication strategies37-39
    • Help patients to accurately self-measure BP40,41
    • Direct patients and families to resources that support medication adherence and healthy lifestyles
Partner with patients, families and communities to help control blood pressure
Table 3. Evidence-based communication strategies37-39
STRATEGY SUGGESTED APPROACH
Begin with open-ended questions about adherence, including recent medication use AVOID: “Are you taking your medicines?”
TRY: “How are your medicines working for you?”
Explore reasons for possible non-adherence AVOID: “Let me prescribe a different pill that might work better.”
TRY: “What do you think would make it easier?”
Elicit patient views on options and priorities to customize a care plan for each patient AVOID: “Have you considered using a pillbox?”
TRY: “What do you think would work for you?” or “What has worked for you in the past?”
Remain non-judgmental at all times AVOID educational statements: “It's really important to take your pills if you want to control your blood pressure.”
TRY supportive statements: “Let's think about this problem together, maybe we can come up with something that will work for you.”
Use teach-back to ensure understanding of the care plan AVOID closed-ended questions: “Does this make sense to you?”
TRY: “What is your understanding of what we've discussed today?”

Evidence‑based tips for patient self‑measurement of blood pressure

  • Instruct the patient how to measure blood pressure accurately using a validated, automated home blood pressure monitor and correct positioning
    • Upper arm monitors are recommended
    • All patients should also be instructed to bring in their monitors for testing in your office to make sure they are properly fitted and working properly for best results
  • Ask the patient to record two morning and two evening blood pressure measurements (one minute apart) for at least four consecutive days between office visits (a minimum of 16 measurements)
  • Develop a systematic approach to ensure patients can act rapidly to address elevated blood pressure readings between office visits
  • Counsel patients that self‑measured BP ≥135/85 mm Hg is considered elevated
SMBP monitoring program Download See all downloadable tools

It [The M.A.P. Program] forced me to make a point to educate patients about their uncontrolled blood pressure and what they can do about it. It helped me to enlist patients in taking ownership of their BP.

Practicing physician

  • What are some benefits of implementing a self‑measured blood pressure (SMBP) program at home?

    SMBP programs improve blood pressure control, especially if some form of clinical support is provided to the patient.41 Clinical support varies based on your practice's capabilities, but could include feedback from clinical office staff, feedback through reporting via a secure patient portal and instructing patients how to titrate medications.

    In addition, SMBP improves adherence to antihypertensive therapy.42

Evidence‑based lifestyle changes to lower BP

Encourage patients to:

  • Follow the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan43
    The DASH plan:
    • Is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
    • Includes low‑fat dairy, poultry, fish and plant‑based oils
    • Limits sodium, sweets, sugary drinks, red meat and saturated fats
  • Participate in moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, for 40 minutes a day, at least four days a week.43 Ten minute blocks of walking four times a day counts as 40 minutes of daily exercise
  • Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI)43
  • Limit alcohol consumption to ≤ 2 drinks per day for men or ≤ 1 drink per day for women43

Access tools to help patients lower their blood pressure: DASH eating plan, A patient guide to lowering your blood pressure

  • Do lifestyle changes have an impact on improving blood pressure?43

    Yes, lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on blood pressure control for your patients. Examples are shown in the table below.

    LIFESTYLE CHANGE CAN LOWER SBP/DBP UP TO:
    DASH diet instead of a typical American diet 11.6/5.3 mm Hg
    Reducing sodium intake by an average of 1150 mg/day 4/2 mm Hg
    Average weight loss of 11 lbs. 4.4/3.6 mm Hg
    40 minutes of moderate‑intensity aerobic physical activity, 3‑4 times per week 5/4 mm Hg
  • What key messages should I use when advising patients about healthy lifestyle choices to lower blood pressure?

    Communicate the following to your patients:

    • Consume no more than 2400 mg of sodium/day by reducing the amount of salt in food and the consumption of processed foods
    • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day
    • Choose whole grain products and high‑fiber foods over refined grains (avoid white bread, rice and pastas)
    • Gradually build up to 40 minutes of physical activity, like brisk walking, most days of the week
    • Limit calories to meet and not exceed daily needs
    • Use personalized and cultural food preferences (eat the foods you like, just don't overeat)
  • What does it mean to partner with families and communities in my practice?

    For you as a clinician, this means that you:

    • Identify and refer your patients to resources available in the community
    • Volunteer at health fairs or blood pressure measuring events in your community
    • Speak in the community on the importance of preventing cardiovascular disease and controlling high blood pressure
    • Lead by example. Modeling a healthy lifestyle is a great example for your patients to follow

    In addition, you should strive to encourage patients and families to participate in healthy lifestyle activities such as:

    • Assisting each other with blood pressure monitoring
    • Offering reminders for when to measure blood pressure and take medications
    • Providing both physical and emotional support
    • Participating in healthy lifestyle choices together, such as physical activity and healthy eating
    • Taking advantage of community resources that offer BP screening and places to exercise together

Check out tools and processes you can use to improve your patients' #hypertension control. #STEPSforward

Conclusion

Integrate the evidence‑based strategies, tools and resources in this module into your workflow to improve your patients' blood pressure control. Using the M.A.P. framework, and adapting it to meet your practice's needs, can increase the accuracy of blood pressure measurement, reduce clinical inertia and empower patients to self‑manage their blood pressure, leading to improved quality of care.

Help patients control blood pressure conclusion

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References

  1. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics‑2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Jan 2015;27;131(4):434‑441.
  2. Mathers C, Stevens G, Mascarenhas M. Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2009. Available at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/global_health_risks/en/index.html. Accessed January 12, 2010.
  3. Campbell NR, Berbari AE, Cloutier L, et al. Policy statement of the world hypertension league on noninvasive blood pressure measurement devices and blood pressure measurement in the clinical or community setting. J Clin Hypertens. 2014;16(5):320‑322.
  4. O'Brien E, Asmar R, Beilin L, et al. European Society of Hypertension recommendations for conventional, ambulatory and home blood pressure measurement. J Hypertens. 2003;21(5):821‑848.
  5. Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, et al. Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals: part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans: a statement for professionals from the Subcommittee of Professional and Public Education of the American Heart Association Council on High Blood Pressure Research. Circulation. 2005;111(5):697‑716.
  6. van Montfrans GA, van der Hoeven GM, Karemaker JM, Wieling W, Dunning AJ. Accuracy of auscultatory blood pressure measurement with a long cuff. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1987;295(6594):354‑355.
  7. Bovet P, Hungerbuhler P, Quilindo J, Grettve ML, Waeber B, Burnand B. Systematic difference between blood pressure readings caused by cuff type. Hypertension. 1994;24(6):786‑792.
  8. Fonseca‑Reyes S, de Alba‑Garcia JG, Parra‑Carrillo JZ, Paczka‑Zapata JA. Effect of standard cuff on blood pressure readings in patients with obese arms. How frequent are arms of a 'large circumference'? Blood Press Monit. 2003;8(3):101‑106.
  9. Linfors EW, Feussner JR, Blessing CL, Starmer CF, Neelon FA, McKee PA. Spurious hypertension in the obese patient. Effect of sphygmomanometer cuff size on prevalence of hypertension. Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(7):1482‑1485.
  10. Maxwell MH, Waks AU, Schroth PC, Karam M, Dornfeld LP. Error in blood‑pressure measurement due to incorrect cuff size in obese patients. Lancet. 1982;2(8288):33‑36.
  11. Nielsen PE, Larsen B, Holstein P, Poulsen HL. Accuracy of auscultatory blood pressure measurements in hypertensive and obese subjects. Hypertension. 1983;5(1):122‑127.
  12. Russell AE, Wing LM, Smith SA, et al. Optimal size of cuff bladder for indirect measurement of arterial pressure in adults. J Hypertens. 1989;7(8):607‑613.
  13. Netea RT, Lenders JW, Smits P, Thien T. Both body and arm position significantly influence blood pressure measurement. J Hum Hypertens. 2003;17(7):459‑462.
  14. Netea RT, Lenders JW, Smits P, Thien T. Influence of body and arm position on blood pressure readings: an overview. J Hypertens. 2003;21(2):237‑241.
  15. Netea RT, Elving LD, Lutterman JA, Thien T. Body position and blood pressure measurement in patients with diabetes mellitus. J Intern Med. 2002;251(5):393‑399.
  16. Mitchell PL, Parlin RW, Blackburn H. Effect of vertical displacement of the arm on indirect blood‑pressure measurement. N Engl J Med. 1964;271:72‑74.
  17. Netea RT, Lenders JW, Smits P, Thien T. Arm position is important for blood pressure measurement. J Hum Hypertens. 1999;13(2):105‑109.
  18. Adiyaman A, Tosun N, Elving LD, Deinum J, Lenders JW, Thien T. The effect of crossing legs on blood pressure. Blood Press Monit. 2007;12(3):189‑193.
  19. Foster‑Fitzpatrick L, Ortiz A, Sibilano H, Marcantonio R, Braun LT. The effects of crossed leg on blood pressure measurement. Nurs Res. 1999;48(2):105‑108.
  20. Peters GL, Binder SK, Campbell NR. The effect of crossing legs on blood pressure: a randomized single‑blind cross‑over study. Blood Press Monit. 1999;4(2):97‑101.
  21. Cushman WC, Cooper KM, Horne RA, Meydrech EF. Effect of back support and stethoscope head on seated blood pressure determinations. Am J Hypertens. 1990;3(3):240‑241.
  22. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Self‑Measured Blood Pressure Monitoring: Actions Steps for Clinicians. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2014. http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/Docs/MH_SMBP_Clinicians.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2015.
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  24. Campbell NR, McKay DW. Accurate blood pressure measurement: why does it matter? CMAJ. 1999;161(3):277‑278.
  25. Sala C, Santin E, Rescaldani M, Magrini F. How long shall the patient rest before clinic blood pressure measurement? Am J Hypertens. 2006;19(7):713‑717.
  26. Handler J, Zhao Y, Egan BM. Impact of the number of blood pressure measurements on blood pressure classification in US adults: NHANES 1999‑2008. J Clin Hypertens. 2012;14(11):751‑759.
  27. James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 evidence‑based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507‑520.
  28. Godwin M, Birtwhistle R, Seguin R, et al. Effectiveness of a protocol‑based strategy for achieving better blood pressure control in general practice. Fam Pract. 2010;27(1):55‑61.
  29. Go AS, Bauman MA, Coleman King SM, et al. An effective approach to high blood pressure control: a science advisory from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hypertension. 2014;63(4):878‑885.
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  32. Naik AD, Rodriguez E, Rao R, Teinert D, Abraham NS, Kalavar J. Quality improvement initiative for rapid induction of hypertension control in primary care. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2010;3(5):558‑564.
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  39. Schillinger D, Piette J, Grumbach K, et al. Closing the loop: physician communication with diabetic patients who have low health literacy. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(1):83‑90.
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  44. Handler J. The importance of accurate blood pressure measurement. The Permanente Journal/ Summer 2009/ Volume 13 No. 3 51

STEPS in practice

Case 1

How's it working in Evanston, IL?

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Case 2

See how a health center is using the M.A.P. framework to improve accuracy of blood pressure measurement.

Case 3

See how a family practice is using the M.A.P. framework to improve the way they are acting rapidly to address hypertension.

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The tools and resources here can offer implementation support for your practice. You can download and modify them to fit your specific needs.

Improving blood pressure control

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Module Completion

Individual tools

  • Improving blood pressure control module

    Download a printable PDF version of this module.

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    PDF, 675 KB

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  • Improving blood pressure control PowerPoint

    Use this PowerPoint presentation to review this module with your team.

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    PPT, 21 MB

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  • M.A.P. checklists

    Evidence-based checklists for Measure accurately, Act Rapidly and Partner with patients, families and communities.

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    PDF, 62 KB

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  • SMBP monitoring program

    A program guide designed for use by physician offices and health centers to engage patients in self-measurement of blood pressure. The guide includes materials for use with both clinical staff and patients.

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    PDF, 553 KB

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  • Blood pressure measurement: measure accurately poster

    A poster for proper patient positioning when taking blood pressure.

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    PDF, 817 KB

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  • Evidence-based communications strategies

    This is a link to a site with videos that demonstrate patient-centered communications skills to assess adherence issues and partner with patients to address them.

  • A patient guide to lowering your blood pressure

    A patient guide containing clear explanations of hypertension and step-by-step guidance on how to prevent or control high blood pressure.

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    PDF, 269 KB

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  • DASH eating plan

    A guide to lowering blood pressure through the DASH eating plan.

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    PDF, 234 KB

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  • Guide to partnering with patients

    A Million Hearts® guide to supporting loved ones in controlling high blood pressure.

    Download

    PDF, 550 KB

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  • Guide to partnering with African-American patients

    A Million Hearts® guide to supporting loved ones in controlling high blood pressure.

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    PDF, 649 KB

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Implementation Support

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