Powerhouse Partnership Educates Providers on Blood Pressure Control

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Doctor taking blood pressure
Doctor taking blood pressure

Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Arizona, California, Florida, Ohio and the U.S. Virgin Islands, recently has partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) and the American Medical Association (AMA) to host local immersive cardiac health improvement programs.

Under the banner, Improving Health Outcomes: Blood Pressure,” (IHO:BP) these programs are designed to educate primary care teams in Arizona, California, Florida and Ohio on implementing an evidence-based blood pressure control regimen in their practices and health centers.

Local kick-off events serve as in-person introductory sessions to an eight-month, web-based curriculum to help providers embed evidence-based practices into existing care. The curriculum consists of eight online modules, each comprising a podcast and an opportunity for providers to virtually convene and share their experiences. At the four-hour kick-off events, providers hear from keynote speakers from the AMA and JHM, and join round-table discussions on the most effective approaches to achieving blood pressure control in their practices.

The events provide an opportunity for providers participating in HSAG’s cardiac health improvement initiatives to see firsthand how QIN-QIOs collaborate with high-profile, influential health care partners to improve care at the community level, said Kim Salamone, Ph.D., vice president of health information technology at HSAG. 

Because of the openness and transparency that the JHM and AMA speakers have shown in sharing their personal experiences, the audience of clinical staff has been receptive to sharing its own thoughts, concerns, barriers and solutions."

HSAG says they have received encouraging feedback from participants. Some providers plan to retrain their staff based on the best practices they learned during the kick-off, while others will take additional steps to identify patients who have the greatest need for blood pressure control support. Many providers expressed surprise at learning that they did not know how to accurately take a patient’s blood pressure.

Salamone explained that the partnership among HSAG, JHM and AMA began during a brainstorming session at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ 2014 QualityNet Conference. The two organizations contacted HSAG in early 2015 to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

The three organizations have conducted rapid-cycle improvements as they transition the IHO:BP event from one state to another, making refinements as needed. Salamone said this joint improvement process has reinforced the partnership by encouraging collaboration, revealing common strengths and highlighting the organizations’ shared mission.

The partners’ web-based educational curriculum for providers is set to launch by August 2015