May is National Health and Blood Pressure Education month and CMS is currently involved in an outreach educational program for patients to help improve monitoring and management of High Blood Pressure. Among the educational programs that are being promoted to patients is encouraging patients to visit their primary care providers for cardiovascular screening.
With this educational program that is being promoted by CMS it is a good time to remind all doctors, primary care and specialists alike, of the importance of measuring a patients blood pressure in the office. With the prevalence of high blood pressure, the need for this item to be included in meaningful use is underscored. I regularly present lectures to doctors on meaningful use and the vital signs measure is one that is often touched upon. It is quite common for a member of the audience to come up to me after the lecture and tell me a story of how they detected dangerously high blood pressure while taking steps to meet meaningful use. The doctors who have encountered patients with abnormally high blood pressure are now regularly checking the blood pressure of their patients, and preforming this test at a rate that exceeds the threshold required by meaningful use.
I would like to encourage all doctors of all specialties to check patients blood pressure on each and every visit. You will be providing very valuable service to your patients.