American Heart Association and Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc. Collaborate to Establish Blood Pressure Training Policy for Staff and Improve Blood Pressure Control

High blood pressure or hypertension (HTN) is when your blood pressure (BP), the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high. Nearly half of adults in the United States (47%, or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure greater than 80mmg or are taking medication for hypertension. Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control. Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States. Philadelphia has one of the highest self-reported hypertension prevalence rates in the nation (34% of adults). The American Heart Association- Greater Philadelphia region is collaborating with Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc. to improve blood pressure control rates.

Delaware Valley Community Health, Inc. (DVCH) is a private, non-profit healthcare organization that operates nine Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Southeastern Pennsylvania. DVCH delivers high quality, affordable, accessible, primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, and preventive services to the uninsured and underinsured patients in its service area. Services are provided in a fiscally responsible manner to all patients regardless of their ability to pay’.

Since 2018, Delaware Valley Community Health has participated in Target: BP, a national initiative formed by the American Heart Association (Association) and the American Medical Association (AMA) in response to the high prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure (BP). Target: BP is designed to improve blood pressure control among patients with the greatest health challenges. DVCH has also established a self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring program at several of their locations. SMBP refers to the regular measurement of blood pressure by a patient outside of the clinical setting.

The American Heart Association connected with DVCH’s Chief Quality and Innovation Officer to adopt a training protocol requiring that all staff who measure BP and who train staff to measure BP complete the Association’s CME/CE Course: Measuring Blood Pressure Accurately: Step One in Hypertension Control, to improve the accuracy of blood pressure measurements taken in the clinics. This protocol was integrated into DVCH’s onboarding process for newly hired staff and annual staff training in May of 2023 across all nine locations.