Developing population-based hypertension control programs

Jaffe et al.

Hypertension remains the leading cause of cardiovascular disease globally despite the availability of safe and effective treatments. Unfortunately, many barriers exist to controlling hypertension, including a lack of effective screening and awareness, an inability to access treatment and challenges with its management when it is treated. Addressing these barriers is complex and requires engaging in a systematic and sustained approach across communities over time. This analysis aims to describe the key elements needed to create an effective delivery system for hypertension control. A successful system requires political will and supportive leadership at all levels of an organization, including at the point of care delivery (office or clinic), in the health care system, and at regional, state and national levels. Effective screening and outreach systems are necessary to identify individuals not previously diagnosed with hypertension, and a system for follow up and tracking is needed after people are diagnosed. Implementing simple protocols for treating hypertension can reduce confusion among providers and increase treatment efficiency. Ensuring easy access to safe, effective and affordable medications can increase blood pressure control and potentially decrease health care system costs. Task-sharing among members of the health care team can expand the services that are delivered. Finally, monitoring and reporting on the performance of the health care team are needed to learn from those who are doing well, disseminate ideas to those in need of improvement and identify individual patients who need outreach or additional care. Successful large-scale  hypertension programs in different settings share many of these key elements and serve as examples to improve systems of hypertension care delivery throughout the world.

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Opinion and analysis