NYC Public Hospital Program Helps Patients Control High Blood Pressure.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) stated in a recent press release that its year-long pilot program, “Treat to Target,” helped 372 patients achieve healthier blood pressure levels and reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The program increases the role of nurses in hypertension management and engages patients as partners by providing them with frequent and focused clinic visits, ongoing education, counseling, and support. The 2012 pilot was conducted in seven HHC hospitals and all facilities reported “a significant improvement in the rates of patients with hypertension who were able to bring their blood pressure under control.” HHC said it will now implement the program in all of its 11 public hospitals and six Diagnostic and Treatment Centers.

Lauren Johnston, HHC’s Chief Nursing Officer, explains that “the nurse-led visits allow for more frequent and longer visits than primary care physicians are typically able to provide. Patients have less wait time to see their nurse. And patients have told us they feel like a team is looking out for them.”

Project leader Dr. David Stevens, Senior Director of HHC’s Office of Healthcare Improvement, says that patients “feel empowered, they see real progress in a short period of time, and they become more active participants in achieving blood pressure goals that they themselves helped to set.”

According to the press release, almost 70 million people have hypertension in the U.S. Most do not have their condition under control, placing them at risk for heart disease, stroke, and other life-threatening complications. HHC’s primary care practices treat about 120,000 high blood pressure patients, with 43 percent having their condition under control and below dangerous thresholds.

HHC estimates that every one percent improvement in the rate of its patients with controlled hypertension, 60 heart attacks and 24 strokes can be prevented each year.

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