The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Million Hearts Initiative Program (Million Hearts) in September 2011. As a national initiative, its goal is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Since cardiovascular disease evidenced by heart attacks and strokes contribute to approximately 800,000 deaths per year in the U.S., medical costs and lost productivity alone total nearly $1 billion per day, not to mention the devastation to patients and their families.
So what are the Heart Health ABCs?
Million Hearts encourages 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.
Healthcare providers across the country have an opportunity to impact the fight against heart disease by implementing effective, inexpensive interventions in clinical and community settings.
To help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, Million Hearts works with healthcare professionals in a variety of settings, including health systems and public health organizations to:
- reduce smoking
- decrease sodium consumption
- eliminate trans-fats
Maximizing the EHR Connection
In addition, 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.
NextGen Healthcare is actively promoting the Million Hearts initiative to its more than 80,000 providers through its client communications channels. Million Hearts participants work on many levels to address the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, nutrition, tobacco, and physical activity.
Patient Engagement at the Core
Population Health is a key driver in managing high-risk patients. Among many preventive initiatives, healthcare providers can also apply patient engagement tools to help meet the goals of the Million Hearts Initiative. In fact, a relatively new NextGen® Population Health client saved a cardiac patient’s life, with an outreach campaign targeting high-risk patients. This outreach got a “no-show” in the door and fast-tracked right to the operating room… just in time.