Hypertension

How to get the most accurate blood pressure measurement

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As a standard part of many physicians’ office workflows, measuring blood pressure may seem like a normal routine. However, seemingly minor issues can impact BP measurement, artificially inflating a patient’s blood pressure by anywhere from two to 40 mmHg. It is important to reevaluate your blood pressure measurement process, while also speaking with patients about how to manage their high BP.

If a patient talks during the measurement, for example, or if the patient’s feet aren’t flat on the floor, there’s a chance that blood pressure measurement will give a falsely high reading. This could lead to a prescription for an unnecessary, potentially harmful, medication. At the same time, other factors can contribute to unidentified and untreated hypertension, which can be deadly.

Tips for addressing hypertension are available through Target: BP™, a joint initiative between the AMA and American Heart Association (AHA) to improve blood-pressure control and build a healthier nation.

Target: BP’s Improvement Program outlines a practical, evidence-based approach to improving BP control for your patients by focusing equally on three critical areas:

  • Measuring blood pressure accurately, every time. Accurate measurement and recording of BP is essential to categorize level of BP, ascertain BP-related CVD risk, and guide management of high BP.
  • Acting rapidly to address high blood pressure readings. Take rapid action and follow treatment protocols to bring BP under control.
  • Partnering with patients to promote self-management of high BP. Improve adherence to treatment and lifestyle changes through collaborative communication and follow-up visits.

Taking the checklist approach to blood-pressure management can help ensure quality care in screening for and treating patients with high BP, as well as preventing the development of heart disease and stroke down the road.

Target: BP offers annual, recurring recognition for all participating sites that achieve hypertension control rates of 70 percent or higher among their adult patient population year over year. In 2018, nearly 800 organizations have been recognized for their efforts focusing on blood pressure control within the populations they serve.

An AMA membership means you’re motivating millions to control hypertension. When the nation’s health is on the line, you can count on the AMA to be part of the solution.