17 December 2012

Major Study on Global Burden of Disease Highlights Importance of Addressing Hypertension
Healthcare Organizations Join to Find Solutions in National Measure Up, Pressure Down Campaign

ALEXANDRIA, VA--A recent international survey on the global burden of disease identified hypertension (high blood pressure) as the leading "risk factor" for disease around the world. Over 120 members of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) serving more than 40 million patients have joined together to address this health problem by participating in Measure Up, Pressure Down, a new national healthcare campaign aimed at preventing, detecting and controlling high blood pressure spearheaded by the American Medical Group Foundation (AMGF), AMGA's nonprofit education and research arm.

The Global Burden of Disease Study, published December 13, 2012, was produced by 486 researchers at 302 institutions in 50 countries, and is the most detailed look at health on the population level ever attempted. It charts 235 causes of death, and examines the effects of 67 risk factors that can lead to illness. Hypertension was identified as the leading risk factor for disease.

These findings underscore the fact that high blood pressure is one of the nation's most significant health issues. CDC says high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths a day and accounts for an estimated $156 billion in healthcare services, medications and lost productivity. One of the most effective ways to control high blood pressure is for the patient to work with a coordinated health care team to get their condition under control. The team-based approach involves physicians, nurses, pharmacists, health coaches and other members of a medical team working together to provide the best level of care to patients.

"By challenging medical groups and health providers to raise the bar on high blood pressure care and control, we can make a dramatic difference in the health and wellbeing of our population," says Donald W. Fisher, PhD, CAE, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMGA and Secretary of the Board of AMGF. "AMGA member medical groups are well positioned to successfully lead this critically important national effort. Their team-based approach to care offers a proven model for delivering quality, cost-effective care that improves patient outcomes."

Medical groups and health systems participating in Measure Up, Pressure Down have pledged to work toward achieving the campaign's goal by adopting one or more of the campaign planks, or care evidence-based care processes known to improve the quality of care for patients with high blood pressure care. AMGF developed 8 planks based on best practices from AMGA's two high blood pressure learning collaboratives and in consultation with the campaign's National Steering Committee and Scientific Advisory Council (see the full list of planks at the end of this document). All 120 Measure Up, Pressure Down groups have agreed to do three things:

  • Work toward the goal of 80% of patients with high blood pressure in control.
  • Implement as many of the primary planks as possible with some groups adopting the value-add planks to achieve breakthrough results.
  • Report quarterly on blood pressure control rates to enable AMGF to evaluate campaign implementation and outcomes.

The campaign has two national sponsors that are committed to helping resolve this public health challenge: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.

For more information about the campaign, visit

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About the Measure Up, Pressure Down Campaign
The American Medical Group Foundation (AMGF), the nonprofit arm of the American Medical Group Association, launched Measure Up, Pressure Down-a three-year national campaign to improve care and reduce the burden of high blood pressure on November 29, 2012. Measure Up Pressure Down includes more than 120 medical groups, health systems and national organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Geisinger Health System. The goal of the three-year campaign is to have 80 percent of high blood pressure patients in control of their condition by 2016.

About the Eight Campaign Planks
Based on best practices from two AMGA high blood pressure learning collaboratives and consultation with the campaign's National Steering Committee and Scientific Advisory Council, AMGF has identified 8 Process Planks for achieving optimum hypertension outcomes. The 8 Process Planks are in two categories--primary planks and value added planks. They are as follows:

Primary Planks

  • Direct care staff trained in accurate blood pressure measurement
  • Use hypertension guideline and monitor adherence
  • Address blood pressure numbers for every hypertension patient at every primary care visit
  • Make an appointment for all patients not at goal and with new prescription within 30 days
  • Put a prevention, engagement and self-management program in place

Value-Add Planks

  • Create a registry to identify and track hypertension patients
  • Train all team members in the importance of blood pressure goals
  • Ensure that all specialties intervene with patients not in control

By engaging the members of the American Medical Group Association along with patients, consumers, and public and private partners, we can realize significant benefits for the nation.