CHICAGO –  As part of its commitment to help all adults manage their blood pressure (BP), the American Medical Association (AMA) today announced that its AMA MAP BP quality improvement program is achieving success in helping physicians and health systems better manage their patients’ blood pressure. At a time during the COVID-19 pandemic when many physicians and health care teams faced challenges with blood pressure measurement and management, Cook County Health in Illinois prioritized blood pressure control within its system. A multidisciplinary team at Cook County collaborated with the AMA on implementation of the AMA MAP BP program’s evidence-based strategies to improve blood pressure measurement accuracy, increase the use of evidence-based treatment and engage patients in self-management of their blood pressure.

Specifically, the AMA provided the Cook County Health team with quality improvement coaching, implementation tools, and performance metrics, leading to an improvement of blood pressure control rates by 13 percentage points in an initial cohort of patients. Cook County Health is the first health system to successfully embed the AMA MAP BP metrics within its electronic health record and achieve results—leading to significant improvements in blood pressure control in 11 practice sites serving a majority of patients from historically marginalized populations.

“Despite the fact that it is widely recognized that uncontrolled blood pressure—the nation’s number one risk factor for heart attack, stroke and premature death—contributes to nearly 850,000 deaths each year, the percentage of people with controlled blood pressure has been declining for nearly a decade. We know these statistics reflect the fact that many patients and physicians face a variety of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, making it difficult to successfully manage the condition,” said AMA President Jack Resneck, Jr., M.D. “The COVID-19 pandemic also illuminated the stark inequities that exist in the U.S., including blood pressure control. Through the AMA MAP BP program, we will be able to help many more physicians, care teams and health care organizations better partner with their patients to help them avoid the deadly consequences associated with high blood pressure—improving health outcomes for patients nationwide.”

AMA MAP BP is an evidence-based continuous quality improvement program aimed at enabling physicians, care teams and health care organizations to achieve rapid, significant, sustained improvements in blood pressure control among their patients. MAP highlights the three key elements that physicians and care teams should focus on, including Measuring BP accurately to obtain actionable data, Acting rapidly to make shared treatment decisions, and Partnering with patients to support self-management.

“We all know about the staggering rate of high blood pressure that we have in this country, and that undiagnosed high blood pressure can have devastating consequences,” said Israel Rocha, Cook County Health CEO. “At Cook County Health, we often see the social risk factors of health playing a significant role in our patients’ ability to address their chronic health conditions. Since the launch of the program, CCH has seen a 13-percentage point improvement in blood-pressure control at AMA MAP BP practice sites. This is a significant achievement, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and life-changing for our patients. I am grateful to the AMA for their collaboration to further health equity and ensure our patients can have access to emerging technology solutions that can help save lives.”

Since 2019, the AMA has worked with forty-six health care organizations across 20 states to help them implement AMA MAP BP. By using AMA MAP BP, these organizations—which include multi-state health systems, accountable care organizations, federally qualified health centers, and medical practices—have impacted hundreds of thousands of patients with high blood pressure. Additionally, the AMA is currently testing new ways to disseminate AMA MAP BP through population health channel partnerships to help serve health care organizations that care for historically marginalized and minoritized populations. The AMA will announce these new collaborations in the coming weeks and months.

This work with Cook County Health is part of the AMA’s continued efforts to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for historically marginalized communities. In October, the AMA announced a new $3 million multi-year investment in Chicago’s west side neighborhoods—for a total investment of $5 million over 5 years, becoming an anchor mission partner with West Side United (WSU). Collaborators including the AMA and Cook County Health are committed to addressing structural inequities, eliminating health disparities and improving economic vitality and educational opportunities in Chicago’s west side communities, which have been devastated by decades of neglect and disinvestment. As part of this work, the AMA and American Heart Association provided Cook County Health with several hundred validated BP devices to support patients with hypertension in self-measurement.

About Cook County Health

One of the largest public health systems in the nation, Cook County Health (CCH) serves as the safety-net for health care in Chicago and suburban Cook County. CCH is comprised of two hospitals, a robust network of more than a dozen community health centers, the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, the Cook County Department of Public Health, Correctional Health Services, which provides health care to individuals at the Cook County Jail and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and CountyCare, a Medicaid managed care health plan. Through the health system and the health plan, CCH cares for approximately 600,000 individuals each year, and its physicians are experts in their fields, committed to providing their patients with comprehensive, compassionate and cutting-edge care. Today, CCH is transforming the provision of health care in Cook County by promoting community-based primary and preventive care, growing an innovative, collaborative health plan, and enhancing the patient experience. 

Media Contact:

Kelly Jakubek

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.