"One thing to keep in mind is every time a patient with high blood pressure comes in for a visit, even if they are not coming in for a blood pressure check, it is another opportunity to monitor and speak with them about their blood pressure no matter what department they are going to since every department is documenting patient care gaps," Kanter says. "This is also a demonstration of what we refer to as complete care, which is providing every aspect of care to our patients throughout their life cycle."
In instances where patients have high blood pressure, they may be placed on medication and begin an ongoing monitoring process. Also, they may referred to a hypertension clinic, and also begin health education classes and instruction. Proper nutrition and exercise programs are also established. The idea is to get the blood pressure to an appropriate level.
"Since we've implemented this new way of practicing, we've seen many cancers detected earlier and found cases of undiagnosed hypertension, and we have some of the best blood pressure control rates in the country," Kanter says.
The conclusions drawn from an analysis of data compiled by POE show an improvement in clinical strategic goals and in "closing care gaps" at every opportunity. Some of the improvements from 2006 to the second quarter of 2009 include:
• An 18.5% increase in patients screened for colorectal cancer, from 52.5% to 71%
• A 17% increase in the number of patients counseled to quit smoking from 53% to 68%.
• A 12.2% increase, from 70.5% to 79.6% in controlling high blood pressure for patients aged 18 to 85.
• A 9.3% increase in the percentage of patients given a retinal screening test from 61.6% to 70.9%