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Please circulate these tips for improving blood pressure readings


This year’s HEDIS (Healthcare Effectiveness Data Information Set) review uncovered an opportunity for providers to improve blood pressure documentation and follow-up for patients with high blood pressure.

Please review these tips with your medical staff:

  • Take blood pressure readings at every visit, including sick visits.
  • Before taking blood pressure, have patients sit quietly with back supported, feet on the floor and arms at heart level.
  • Always record blood pressure using the same arm. Record which arm is used and the size of the cuff. Use the correct cuff to fit the patient’s arm.
  • Take it twice: If the blood pressure reading is high at the beginning of the visit, take it again and record near the end of the visit.
  • Use exact values when recording the pressure; don’t round up or down.
  • Review and document hypertensive medication history and patient compliance. Consider modifying treatment plans when blood pressure is uncontrolled.
  • If patients are hypertensive during a visit, schedule a follow-up visit once a treatment plan has been initiated.
  • Encourage patients to keep frequent records of their blood pressure. Emphasize that they should take it at about the same time every day and using the same arm.
  • If patients don’t own a blood pressure cuff, encourage them to go the local pharmacy. Many have in-store blood pressure gauges.
  • If your patients own a blood pressure cuff, encourage them to bring the cuff with them at least yearly so you can check for accuracy.