ONC Launches Challenge to Improve Blood Pressure Control Using Health IT

Dr. Karen B. DeSalvo and Janet Wright | July 30, 2014

Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. To combat these threats, the Department of Health and Human Services (co-led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS]) has joined with private and non-profit organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Pharmacists Association and the YMCA, to launch Million Hearts®, a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The initiative is working to encourage clinicians nationwide to improve the quality of care through use of the ABCS strategies – Aspirin when appropriate, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management and Smoking cessation.

On July 7th, as we marked the halfway point in this ambitious drive to improve America’s health, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with the CDC, launched the EHR Innovations for Improving Hypertension Challenge to accelerate improvement on the Million Hearts® “B” strategy – Blood Pressure Control. The goal is to show how professionals are using health IT to improve patients’ cardiovascular health. Evidence-based treatment protocols are an essential tool for providers to use in improving blood pressure control.

What makes this ONC challenge unique?  First, it taps the expertise of clinicians who care for patients with hypertension and are using health IT to improve their control. Second, the challenge is designed to promote the scalability of critical tools for maximum impact and reach.

The challenge will proceed in two phases, with up to five prizes worth a total of $50,000:

  • Phase 1 asks practices to document the clinical decision support (CDS) tools that they have successfully used to demonstrate blood pressure control improvements in clinical settings.  Submissions are due October 6, 2014, and four winners will be announced on October 27, 2014.
  • Phase 2 will reward organizations or consortia who spread the use of the Phase 1-winning CDS tools to the most practices. The submission period begins October 28, and a single winner will be announced in the fall of 2015.

To find out more or participate in this exciting challenge, visit Challenge.gov. In addition, ONC will be hosting an informational webinar on August 5 at 3:00 pm Eastern – you can learn more and register at  http://bit.ly/1jgNBEK External Links Disclaimer.