Health Information

02-14-2022

Morris Heights Health Center is Lowering Blood Pressure One BP Kit at a Time

BRONX, NEW YORK--Thirty-six percent of Bronx residents have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), high blood pressure (also referred to as HBP, or hypertension) refers to when your blood pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high. As a result, high blood pressure puts patients at greater risk for developing life-changing and potentially life-threating conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or failure, vision loss, and sexual dysfunction.

In 2020, Morris Heights Health Center’s (MHHC) population health management data showed about 1 in 3, or 36% of the health center’s patients (18-85 years of age), who had an active diagnosis of hypertension had high blood pressure levels. Controlling the health center’s patients’ blood pressure has been a priority for MHHC’s Chief Medical Officer, Jeanine Lois Bookhardt, MD, who established a partnership with the American Heart Association. The AHA provided the health center with more than 170 blood pressure home kits for their patients. “We need to do more than just talk to patients about their blood pressure,” explained Dr. Bookhardt. “The home kits give patients one of the tools needed for them to self-manage their blood pressure.”

In addition to external partnerships, MHHC developed an interdisciplinary team that consists of a pharmacist, health educator, and quality director to help support the initiative. Dr. Roosevelt Matthews, a pharmacist at MHHC, was among the project team members and dubbed the hypertension champion, working with medical providers and patients on blood pressure education. More than 100 blood pressure home kits were distributed to MHHC patients with high blood pressure. Patients who received the blood pressure home kits showed an overall improvement within three months of the initial project. In the first quarter of 2021, when the initiative began, 33% of MHHC patients, (18-85 years of age) who had an active diagnosis of hypertension, had uncontrolled high blood pressure. Six months later, the initiative had lowered the percentage of people with uncontrolled blood pressure by 6 percentage points, from 33% to 27%.

The success of the initiative was shared at the Bureau of Primary Health Care’s (BPHC’s) virtual Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Health Equity Technical Assistance Symposium on January 31, 2022. Dr. Matthews and Luc Josaphat, Director of Quality, presented at the 2-day symposium. During the PCMH 2022 symposium, participating health centers were given the opportunity to share data-driven quality improvement projects that improved health outcomes and/or reduced health disparities.

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