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Team-Based Approach Can Improve Hypertension Control

One practice's story shows hypertension control can be boosted by team-based care

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A team-based approach using evidence-based principles can be incorporated into practice workflow to improve hypertension control, according to a practice story published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Using a team-based care approach, Michael K. Rakotz, M.D., has achieved a 90 percent control rate for patients with hypertension in his practice. The practice is part of a pilot program of the AMA's Improving Health Outcomes Initiative, and has incorporated evidence-based principles into workflows to control hypertension.

The practice staff members were trained in a standardized checklist approach to measuring blood pressure. A medical assistant measures blood pressure accurately, and a specific protocol is followed if an initial reading shows elevated blood pressure. To reduce the white coat effect, multiple readings are taken over several minutes with no staff in the room. The medical assistant flags patients with readings that indicate high blood pressure. Patients also have a home-monitoring program, and staff members provide patients with a special checklist for blood pressure measurement at home. Practice staff members enter data from patients' home monitoring into the practice electronic health record system.

"Even if you're in a more rural, smaller practice, the more time you invest in training your staff up front, the more dividends you're going to get on the back end in quality of care," Rakotz said.

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