On March 19, 20 practice teams from across Ohio converged on Columbus to take part in a quality improvement project to improve blood pressure control rates of their patients diagnosed with hypertension.
The Million Hearts Quality Improvement Team Training Day provided practice teams an opportunity to meet outside of their normal office setting to discuss the importance of effective and efficient teamwork and its impact on patient care. Participants gained insight into the importance of team engagement and quality improvement, heard directly from a patient on how the team-patient relationship impacts hypertension management, and was able to work together as a team to create an office protocol to fit the practice and improve patient care.
In addition, the selected practices will be among the first to use the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians’ newly created Hypertension Module that is accredited by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) for Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) Part IV credit and by the American Academy of Family Physicians for 20 Performance Improvement in Practice credits.
The Team Training Day kicks off a six-month implementation phase where the participating practices will put their new protocol into place and collect data to track progress. Last year’s Million Hearts Quality Improvement Program practices reported an increase in hypertension control rates from 69.7% to 73.4% and the percent of patients with hypertension who have a follow-up appointment scheduled increased from 66.0% to 68.8% in just three months.
- BS Bonyo, DO, and Associates Inc.
- Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton Community Health Clinic
- Department of Care Connection
- Dipakkumar P. Amin, MD
- Fisher Titus Medical Care New London Office
- Hilliard Family Medicine Inc.
- Internal Medicine of Akron Inc/PPG
- Jackson Family Practice
- Lorain County General Health District
- Lorain County Health & Dentistry
- Milltown Family Physicians
- Mound Family Practice
- OhioHealth Primary Care Physicians
- Ollie Davis Primary Care
- Perry County Family Practice
- Scioto Family Physicians Inc.
- Third Street Family Health Service
- University Hospitals Ghent Family Practice
- Xenia Family Practice (part of Kettering Physician Network)
Dr. Gary LeRoy, associate dean of student affairs and admissions at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, led the full-day program. Other speakers for the day included Barbara Pryor, MS, RD, LD, manager, chronic disease section at the Ohio Department of Health; Erin Jech, OAFP director of performance improvement; Cathy Costello, JD, director for CliniSyncPLUS services; and Scott Mash, director of consulting operations and HIE outreach for CliniSync.
The day also included a team engagement session led by Sarah Sams, MD, from Grant Family Medicine Southwest and members of her care team, Jennifer Holley, RN, and Noelle Waddle, RN. The team discussed the importance of the team-based approach to patient care and how to leverage patient engagement in improving population health. Also featured during the event was a patient of Dr. Sams, Richard (Ashley) Fitch who shared his health journey and detailed his personal struggle with managing his chronic conditions. Ashley’s story highlighted the importance of how care was improved when the care team and patient work together. When all parties are engaged, success can happen.
The following is an excerpt from Ashley’s story.
“I am a 51-year-old male living and dealing with hypertension and anxiety and a family history with a lot of heart and lung issues. My journey with Dr. Sams started in my late 30s. I’ve had many ups and downs along the way but last winter, I finally listened to my health care teammates with both ears. I started tracking what I was eating. I started taking my meds at the same time every day. I started eating smaller portions of better food with less sodium, drinking water, and walking. I started seeing someone to help me with my anxiety (who was suggested by my great teammates). Guess what? With a good team, great things are possible! I was the last piece of my puzzle, concerning my health and I was finally fitting into place. My nurses, doctors, family, my meds ,and myself are seeing results of me being healthier, both mentally and physically. I have lost over 30 pounds of weight and still working to lose more. I average almost 8 miles or better every day, do at least 100 pushups, and 50 pullups daily. I am getting strong and feeling great. I take my meds as directed, monitor my blood pressure, and continue to see my health care teammates. I’m a work in progress, but better today because of my health care team, family, and most importantly myself!”
This is just one of the many success stories practices engaged in quality improvement will witness. The small steps these practice teams will take towards improved control rates of hypertensive patients is just one way they are making an impact on population health in their communities.
The program is supported by a grant provided by the Ohio Department of Health.
To view photos from the day, please visit the OAFP Facebook page.