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New Blood Pressure Control Guidance for Clinicians and Community Partners Released
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Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
Publish Date:
February 5, 2015

Concord, NH – In recognition of American Heart Month, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is pleased to announce the release of Ten Steps for Improving Blood Pressure Control in New Hampshire: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Community Partners, primarily authored by Rudy Fedrizzi, MD, of Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene, and Kimberly Persson, MSW, of the Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire. This guide details how clinicians and communities can work together to improve hypertension throughout the State.

The New Hampshire Million Hearts Learning Collaborative developed the Ten Steps, a step-by-step manual to guide practitioners, quality improvement personnel, and practice administrators in improving blood pressure control in clinical practice and through community outreach. The manual distills the lessons learned from the New Hampshire’s Million Hearts Learning Collaborative. When combined, these ten steps provide a comprehensive approach to improving hypertension control rates within communities.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common and dangerous condition. It increases a patient’s risk for heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire. Almost 2,000 people died in New Hampshire due to coronary heart disease or heart attacks in 2012. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the State causing an additional 438 deaths in 2012.

"Hypertension is not controlled in too many people throughout New Hampshire," said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health Services at DHHS. "This manual is an important step toward encouraging health care providers and community agencies, such as YMCAs, local health departments, and others, to work together to meet the challenge of providing effective care and promoting a healthy lifestyle among those they serve."

In October 2013, DHHS, along with nine other states and the District of Columbia, was awarded a Million Hearts funding grant by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with seed money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Million Hearts is a national initiative working to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

New Hampshire's work is modeled after the successful strategies implemented at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene over the past few years. The grant's framework is based on learning collaboratively through community partnerships. New Hampshire’s Million Hearts Learning Collaborative partners include:

  • DHHS Division of Public Health Services
  • Institute for Health Policy and Practice at the University of New Hampshire
  • Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock–Keene (CMC/DHK)
  • City of Manchester Health Department
  • Manchester Community Health Center (MCHC)
  • Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services, and
  • Lamprey Health Care – Nashua (LHC-N)

Utilizing evidence-based public health interventions, MCHC improved the blood pressure control rate among its patients from 66% to 75% over the course of 2014, and LHC-N improved its rate from 69.5% to 72%.

With additional support from ASTHO and CDC, Goodwin Community Health, partnering with Wentworth Douglass Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital, and Community Partners, will now participate in the New Hampshire Million Hearts Learning Collaborative.

The guide can be found at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/documents/tensteps-bpcontrol.pdf Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol. An interactive, half-day workshop to support practitioners and practice administrators in implementing the guide’s strategies is scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 9:00 am–12:00 pm at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Granite State Conference Room, 7 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH, 03302. To register, go to http://chhs.unh.edu/ihpp/public-health-and-health-promotion. Space is limited. Please register by Friday, March 20.

For more information about heart disease and stroke prevention, visit the DHHS website http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/documents/tensteps-bpcontrol.pdf Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol. To learn more about American Heart Month, go to http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/.

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