Personal and professional demands can change dramatically and impact levels of stress throughout the day, month and year.  As a result, blood pressure can become a moving target creating a challenge for proper diagnosis of hypertension. According to the Centers  for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans is affected by high blood pressure, and many have not been diagnosed

“Evaluation of blood pressure is essential in assessing cardiovascular health. Measuring blood pressure may seem like a normal routine, but seemingly minor issues can impact blood pressure measurement,” explained Lisa Thorp, RN, BSN, CDE, Program Manager for Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN).

Routine monitoring by a healthcare provider is the best way to determine if there is a need for hypertension management or treatment options. The American Heart Association’s recent update of blood pressure ranges lists a normal blood pressure range at 120/80 or lower. This is a decrease from the previous standard of 130/80.

On May 31, 2018, as part of National High Blood Pressure Education Month, Great Plains QIN is hosting Blood Pressure Protocol Training including continuing education credits through the North Dakota Board of Nursing. Pat Spier, RN-BC, PCMH-CCE, and Barb Rice, RN-BC, from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota will address the importance of accuracy in blood pressure measurement to identify and manage hypertension. Healthcare professionals responsible for measuring or ensuring the accuracy of patient blood pressures  can also review proper use of equipment and tools for improving workflow and protocols.

“Taking an accurate blood pressure measurement requires the skills on the healthcare professional along with the cooperation of the individual,” added Thorp. “Sometimes the actual process of getting a blood pressure taken can cause the individual to have an elevated reading. Engaging with the individual is as important as understanding how to use and read the equipment.”

Great Plains QIN partners with providers in the home health and physician office settings, as well as patients, families and stakeholders as part of the Million Hearts® national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes.  More information on the cardiac health initiative along with additional tools and education opportunities are available on the Great Plains QIN website.