September was Cholesterol Awareness Month.In Million Hearts®, the “C” in the "ABCS" gets our attention every day. That’s why a recent CDC MMWR publication has our attention. The report showed that between 2005 and 2012, only 55.5% of the estimated 78 million U.S. adults eligible for treatment based on 2013 national guidelines were taking cholesterol-lowering medications, and only 46.6% were making lifestyle changes. Notably, women, Mexican Americans, and blacks were less likely to be on medication. These data show us all sizable opportunities to improve cholesterol control—a proven path to fewer heart attacks and strokes for our families and friends. How can you and your team or community help more people do what works to protect their heart and brain health?
—Janet Wright, MD, FACC
Executive Director, Million Hearts®
Look at what the White House and others are doing for cardiovascular health!
The White House is hosting a five-part series titled “Making Health Care Better” to highlight the significant progress made in improving the health system over the past 7 years. One iteration of the series focuses on advancements in cardiovascular health research, quality of care, delivery of care, and coverage.
Tools You Can Use
- Visit CDC’s Vital Signs on Medication Adherence—Find the Vital Signs fact sheet, MMWR Early Release, and other materials. Take advantage of CDC’s social media tools, such as the Vital Signsbuttons and e-mail updates, and use our content syndication serviceto have Vital Signs sent directly to your own website for display. More information about medication adherence, as well as resources and tools—including the Factors That Promote Antihypertensive Medication Adherence, 2009 vs. 2014 data snapshot—is on the Million Hearts® medication adherence Web page.
- Learn the business logic of combating cardiovascular disease from National Business Coalition on Health’s action brief—The cost of an employee sufferering a cardiovascular event can be catastrophic to employer health plan costs. Between 2010 and 2030, total direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease are projected to triple, from $273 billion to $818 billion. Indirect costs (due to lost productivity) are estimated to increase from $172 billion to $276 billion—an increase of 61%. This brief includes action steps for employers to help prevent cardiovascular events.
- Get strategies and tools from HRSA’s Guide to Improving Care Processes and Outcomes in Health Centers—To help address the increasing imperative to improve performance on targets such as hypertension control, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care recently provided a new guide. This resource provides proven strategies and tools that providers and their partners can use to enhance care processes and outcomes for Million Hearts® “ABCS” measures and many other targets.
- Check out these new CDC nutrition resources for implementing healthier food service guidelines in hospital and federal worksite cafeterias—CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity supported a project by the North Carolina Institute of Public Health (NCIPH) to post new nutrition resources to highlight the facilitators and barriers of implementing health food service guidelines in hospitals and federal worksite food service operations. The resources include guidelines and success stories of a project supported by NCIPH.
Million Hearts® in the Community
- Nominations for patient-centered outcomes research dissemination and implementation are being sought by AHRQ.The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking nominations of clinical or system interventions that have been shown to improve patient health outcomes with potential to have an even greater impact if implemented more broadly. Nominations should focus on findings that compare the impact of two or more preventive, diagnostic, treatment, or health care delivery approaches on health outcomes that are meaningful to patients. Submit nominations or send an e-mail for more information.
- New research program will address health disparities of chronic diseases. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, part of the National Institutes of Health, is launching the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers for Health Disparities Research Program. This program responds to the need for more robust, ecological approaches to address chronic diseases among health disparity populations.
- HHS awards more than $87 million for health centers’ IT enhancements. In September, HHS awarded more than $87 million in direct funding to 1,310 health centers to accelerate the transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. These funds may be instrumental in helping health centers use their data to improve blood pressure outcomes.
The Science of Million Hearts®
- New review examines evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.This review in The Lancet is intended to help clinicians, patients, and the public make informed decisions about statin therapy for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. The review discusses how claims that statins commonly cause adverse effects reflect a failure to recognize the limitations of other sources of evidence about the effects of treatment.
- Learn more about self-measured blood pressure monitoring (SMBP). Strong scientific evidence substantiates the impact that SMBP plus clinical support has on lowering blood pressure. Find several evidence-based SMBP tools, resources, and success stories on the Million Hearts® website. Help patients start taking control of their blood pressure, and talk with them about SMBP.