Study lowers hypertension by making treatment shorter, cheaper and more convenient.

Kaiser Permanente, a Northern California provider of health care and not-for-profit health plans, has released findings of one of the largest, community-based high blood pressure programs that used a multifaceted approach to hypertension control and quality improvement. In a press release, Kaiser said that during the 2001 to 2009 program, it nearly doubled the rate of control among diagnosed hypertensive adults.

Nearly 350,000 people started the program in 2001 and the number increased to more than 650,000 by 2009. According to the results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the rate of high blood pressure control throughout the program increased from 43.6 percent in 2001 to 80.4 percent in 2009. After the study, control rates among patients continued to improve from nearly 84 percent in 2010 to 87 percent in 2011.

The program comprised a comprehensive hypertension registry, the sharing of performance metrics, evidence-based guidelines, medical assistant visits for blood pressure measurement and a single-pill combination therapy. Researchers found that the use of a single pill that combined two blood pressure medications, led to a large increase in the number of prescriptions being filled. The program’s success lies in the fact that it made blood pressure control easier, faster, more convenient and cost-effective.

Lead author Marc G. Jaffe, MD, an endocrinologist and clinical leader of the Kaiser’s Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program, said that the success of the program is “evidence that large-scale and comprehensive monitoring and intervention systems can improve blood pressure control.” He added that the model has “tremendous potential to improve the health of millions of people. High blood pressure is an important modifiable risk factor for life-threatening illnesses including heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. As the population ages, high blood pressure will become an even bigger problem unless we act now.”

Kaiser Permanente continues to address hypertension and cardiovascular health overall. According to the press release, last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognized Kaiser “for its success in controlling hypertension across its entire patient population.”

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