New study uses electronic health record data to identify hypertension in patients from underserved communities

Feb. 26, 2018

Although hypertension is the most common chronic condition among patients in health centers serving uninsured or underserved communities in the U.S., many patients with the condition are not diagnosed and remain untreated, increasing their chances of developing heart disease and stroke.

A new study in the March 2018 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety describes how 10 health centers with a high prevalence of hypertension in their patient population used electronic health record (EHR) analysis to identify patients potentially suffering from hypertension to ultimately improve their diagnoses.

In the article, “Improving Identification and Diagnosis of Hypertensive Patients Hiding in Plain Sight (HIPS) in Health Centers,” Margaret Meador, MPH, C-PHI, director, Clinical Integration and Education, National Association of Community Health Centers, Bethesda, Maryland, and co-authors, used a computerized algorithm to help staff identify patients with multiple elevated blood pressure readings.

These patients were then contacted and brought in to determine if they needed treatment for hypertension. After implementation of the algorithm-based interventions, diagnosed hypertension prevalence increased significantly from 34.5% to 36.7%. A cohort of patients was tracked from 8 of the 10 health centers to assess follow-up evaluation and diagnosis rates; 65.2% completed a follow-up evaluation, of which 31.9% received a hypertension diagnosis.

The Joint Commission has the full release