Tuesday, September 13, 2011

U.S. Government Launches a Population Health Improvement Initiative Called "Million Hearts"

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a "Million Hearts" campaign that is designed to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes in the next 5 years.  You can read about it in the New England Journal here or in Circulation here.  There is also more detail here at the HHS gov web site.

The campaign is crafted to address the "ABCS" a.k.a. aspirin, blood pressure control, cholesterol control and smoking in the U.S. population. The Feds propose to 1) consolidate just how ABCS will be specifically measured in any population, 2) remind and help manufacturers as well as users of EHRs that they can be tasked to addressing ABCS, 3) initiate a "pharmacist-led campaign.... (to) facilitate counseling about hypertension control," 4) launch an anti-tobacco marketing and community-based campaign, 5) push for food labeling in restaurants and 6) increase the measurement of sodium and fat consumption.  Details are in this table.

"Bravo!" says the DMCB.  When it reads about Million Hearts, it's clear that the Feds are identifying population-based strategies, basing their interventions on demonstrated needs, increasing awareness of health risks, using patient-friendly education, helping consumers make the right choices and figuring out how to assess outcomes on an ongoing basis with a feedback loop.

If you agree on the DMCB's assessment of what the Feds are up to, you also agree that they've they have launched a huge population health improvement (PHI) initiative.  The DMCB isn't making that up: if you compare the Care Continuum Alliance description of PHI here with the fundamentals of Million Hearts, you'll see that the overlap is almost 100%.

What's different is that the Feds are also using Million Hearts to 1) further justify the Affordable Care Act and the EHR meaningful use initiative, 2) leverage some potent government entities like AHRQ, CDC, CMS and the FDA, 3) distribute hundreds of millions in community grant money, 4) create a coalition that includes The Y, AHA, Walgreens, some professional pharmacy associations and AHIP, and 5) say some nice stuff about Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity program.  

All that makes perfect sense from a governmental as well as political process, but it's still PHI.

"A hearty welcome to the fold!" says the DMCB.  HHS has finally decided to give millions of Americans access to PHI that combats atherosclerotic heart disease.  Better late than never, but based on what we know about the science of PHI in multiple other settings and assuming the government can pull this off, the DMCB is confident that a million lives being saved is within reach.  

1 comment:

Tapestry said...

Please tell us how you measure # of heart attacks that do not happen. I am remembering the SmokeFree Class of 2000 and how that failed - I do hope we can go back and learn from that, and be very successful this time. Thank you - Godspeed with your work!