Lake Superior QIN Recognized as an American Heart Association Power Partner of the Year

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Pictured: MPRO’s Harolyn Baker, director of applied epidemiology and evaluation; Angela Vanker, director of quality initiatives; Mark Loush, clinical quality consultant; Andrea Boucher, senior clinical quality consultant; and May Leonard, director of qual
MPRO’s Harolyn Baker, director of applied epidemiology and evaluation; Angela Vanker, director of quality initiatives; Mark Loush, clinical quality consultant; Andrea Boucher, sr. clinical quality consultant; May Leonard, director of quality initiatives

Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network (QIN) cardiac health partnerships are award winning. Last fall, the Southeast Michigan American Heart Association (AHA) recognized MPRO, a key partner in the Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network (QIN) — the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin — as the Power Partner of the Year for its efforts to improve awareness and reduce the rate of hypertension for all Michigan residents.

Lake Superior QIN’s five-year partnership with the Southeast Michigan chapter of AHA began in conjunction with MPRO’s leadership of a QIO Special Innovation Project to decrease disparities in cardiac health. Their relationship has played a key role in improving blood pressure control by 16 percent for patients of the 83 participating practices, including their Medicare beneficiaries, from 2011 to 2014

With a goal of building upon this success, the QIN and AHA recently collaborated to host a hypertension webinar learning session that attracted participants from 16 states with a combined patient population of nearly five million.

The biggest lesson learned from the webinar was that we can surpass our expectations,” said Angela Vanker, Lake Superior’s Michigan director of quality initiatives. With a mutual goal of controlling blood pressure for as many patients as possible, we were able to reach a much larger audience than ever before.”

Hypertension can affect anyone at any time, so prevention needs to be top of mind.” 

In an effort to incorporate blood pressure protocols and policies into its cardiac health initiatives, Lake Superior QIN is leading blood pressure control workshops at federally-qualified health centers and primary care facilities. These training sessions educate the staff on the various care and prevention models, including AHA’s High Blood Pressure Treatment Algorithm and the Million Hearts supported protocols.

Lake Superior QIN is also introducing the Million Hearts Hypertension Prevalence Estimator Tool to local practices in an effort to help them indicate where the population’s hypertension control rate stands and to identify new target areas. 

Hypertension can affect anyone at any time, so prevention needs to be top of mind,” said Vanker when reflecting on these recent efforts. 

Overcoming the social determinants of health is one of the biggest challenges the partnership has faced in improving overall cardiac health.

Much of our work has to do with ensuring patients understand hypertension basics,” Vanker said. We put a lot of effort into helping providers develop person and family engagement strategies that will help educate patients and drive sustainable lifestyle changes.”

With its award as motivation, Lake Superior QIN plans to continue building on its relationship with AHA to advance the improvement of quality cardiac care for residents of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.