Online training builds and maintains advanced blood pressure measurement skills

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It is axiomatic that healthcare teams cannot properly screen, diagnose, or monitor patients with high blood pressure if they cannot first obtain an accurate blood pressure measurement. No wonder, then, that hypertension rates are so high in the United States. A recent study found that, on average, medical professionals could not perform even half of the 14 skills considered necessary to accurately measure blood pressure.

The problem goes back generations: members of healthcare teams receive too little training in blood pressure measurement – usually only in their professional training and never again – and whatever skills they have learned there are a long time when they inevitably degrade.

That’s why the AMA and the American Heart Association have developed a 30-minute e-learning module, “Achieving Accuracy: BP Measurement,” to refresh and enhance everyone’s measurement knowledge and clinical skills. members of the healthcare team responsible for measuring and monitoring patients’ blood pressure. .

The study, a randomized controlled trial published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, assessed the impact of the module. It has shown that these 30 minutes alone are enough to significantly improve blood pressure measurement skills.

Until the end of May, doctors and others can get 25% off the e-learning module with code BP25*.

In the researchers’ initial assessment of 170 healthcare professionals — including doctors, registered nurses and physician assistants — participants in the intervention and control groups had mean scores of just 5.5 and 5.9 out of 14, respectively. However, following use of the module, the intervention group correctly performed an average of 3.4 additional skills, compared to 1.4 in the control group.

“Our results reinforce existing evidence that errors in provider blood pressure measurements are widespread and provide new evidence that refresher training improves measurement accuracy,” wrote the authors, including Rupinder Hayer, MPH , Senior Program Manager for Improving Health Outcomes at the AMA.

“Now imagine if the e-learning module came with additional solutions or guidance,” Hayer said in an interview, noting that scores could be even higher if care team members reviewed the module. two or three times. “Then we could really move the needle in terms of measurement accuracy.”

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The eLearning module “Achieving Accuracy: BP Measurement” is divided into these three sections.

Know the science. This covers the epidemiology of hypertension, the importance of blood pressure control, and the categories of high blood pressure. It also explores clinical guidelines that support comprehensive plans for achieving blood pressure control.

Accurate measurement every time. The bulk of the module, this section details best practices for taking accurate blood pressure readings across multiple devices, as well as the do’s and don’ts of taking blood pressure. It also reviews proper techniques, from cuff selection to patient preparation.

Care Partners. Determining how to obtain and report accurate blood pressure readings on a regular basis is essential. Participants learn how partnering with their teammates can produce better patient outcomes.

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The authors noted several limitations of this study, including the short follow-up time for knowledge and skill assessment. Current guidelines recommend retraining every six to 12 months.

“Further research may help clarify how often recycling is best implemented,” they wrote. “Retraining alone, without addressing system-level barriers to accurate blood pressure measurement, is likely insufficient to close this performance gap. However, retraining blood pressure measurement should be a cornerstone of any healthcare organization’s quality improvement program.

The AMA launched the AMA MAP BP™ program in 2019 to pave the way for significant and lasting improvements in blood pressure control. It showcases powerful data and metrics, including through a dashboard that provides monthly reports and tracking data on process and outcome metrics. In addition, AMA experts provide planning and support during program setup and implementation, such as assisting with practice site readiness assessments, training clinical teams and creating launch event presentations.

The resources offered by the AMA within the framework of the AMA MAP BP are provided free of charge. Contact the AMA to find out how your organization can get started.

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