Hypertension is high blood pressure over time, a condition that causes heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health conditions.
1 in 3 Americans is hypertensive, and although hypertension can be easily controlled with medication, about 50% of people with hypertension are uncontrolled. This means the individual is either unaware that they have hypertension, or that they are aware of their condition but are not adhering to care instructions.
Uncontrolled hypertension results in 1 in 7 deaths each year or approximately 1,000 deaths per day. For U.S. employers, untreated hypertension is one of the most expensive health conditions.
Based on population health and employee claims data, we estimate that of our 26,000 employees, 2,700 are uncontrolled hypertensive.
As part of our effort to “make people healthier,” we launched a pilot program in 2015 to help Penn Medicine employees improve blood pressure control. In 2016, based on its success, the pilot became an official program, known as the Employee Hypertension Program.
Whereas the traditional model of care requires that patients receive treatment for high blood pressure at a doctor’s office, a process that requires travel and missing time at work, the Employee Hypertension Program eliminates such barriers by blending innovative care delivery with new technology and findings from behavioral economics.
Our program provides free care to uncontrolled hypertensive employees with a goal to help 100% of participants reach a healthy target blood pressure within three months of their diagnosis. We offer screenings at convenient locations across campus. When a person is diagnosed with hypertension, we give them a treatment plan and prescription, an automated blood pressure cuff for at-home readings, and access to a coaching plan via Twine, a mobile application.
After the diagnosis, the Twine application serves as a platform for employees to track their blood pressure readings and medication and goal adherence, as well as connect with their clinical team.
As of August 2016:
- Employees screened: > 400 employees
- Employees enrolled in the program: 103
- Age range: 27 to 69
- Average blood pressure drop during the first month of enrollment: 12 points
- 90% of patients reach target blood pressure within two months of enrollment
- Net Promoter Score: 100
- Winner of the Clinical Effectiveness and Quality Improvement Initiative for HUP for 2015
- Twine Health Coach Excellence Award 2016, Nicole McHenry, RN