Commitment to Hypertension Control During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Million Hearts Initiative Exemplars

Amena Abbas, MPH; Judy Hannan, RN, MPH; Haley Stolp, MPH; Fátima Coronado, MD, MPH; Laurence S. Sperling, MD


Prev Chronic Dis. 2022;19(8):e47 

In This Article

Purpose and Objectives

Million Hearts (MH), a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events within 5 years, focuses the attention of public health and health care partners on a small set of priorities to optimize delivery of evidence-based strategies to achieve specific targets in aspirin use, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation. Since 2012, the MH Hypertension Control Challenge has recognized clinicians, care practices, and health systems that achieve blood pressure control rates of 70% through 2017 and 80% control through 2019 as Champions.[9] The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has disrupted clinical care and preventive service delivery, altered quality improvement support programs, and stalled many public health program activities and initiatives.[10] In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of the potential risk of infection during in-person visits, federal agencies relaxed telemedicine regulations and increased funding to support its implementation, which resulted in a substantial increase in the utilization of telemedicine.[11] However, the use of patient-generated blood pressure measurements is not uniformly captured in the medical record or universally accepted for reporting data to certain blood pressure control clinical quality measures. Despite these disruptions in care and reporting practices, MH remained committed to recognizing those who continued to address hypertension control. This report identifies and describes lessons learned from clinicians and health care organizations that adapted routine practice or care to maintain a focus on hypertension control during the COVID-19 pandemic.