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Canyon View MAs Improve Blood Pressure Processes, Win iPads

Canyonview Optum challengeImproving blood pressure control, like so many other quality improvement measures, begins with accurate measurement and documentation. At Canyon View Medical Clinic in Spanish Fork, medical assistants (MAs) competed in a challenge earlier this year aimed at improving blood pressure measurement and charting; and with simple changes to their processes were able to make big improvements in blood pressure control. 

Two teams of MAs competed in the challenge, put on by Optum Care. Teams competed for two months and got points for properly taking and charting the blood pressures of hypertension patients. Teams got points if the patients’ blood pressure was in the healthy range (below 140/90) or if it wasn’t in range but the MA retook the patients’ blood pressure after letting them rest for a few minutes. 

“Our main goal with the challenge was to be better about double checking blood pressures,” Anne Herbert, a MA at Canyon View said. “If they were continuing to have high readings after letting them rest then we would set up a blood pressure visit.” 

The MA team from the Spanish Fork clinic won the blood pressure challenge out of more than 20 teams in Utah, winning iPad minis for each team member. 

Jennifer Elliot, quality coordinator at Canyon View, said they already had blood pressure processes in place but the contest helped reinforce their training. 

“I think it improved the process. It helped them make sure it got documented and make sure a retake got done if necessary,” Elliot said, “I think it helped build a culture of team work. We are always talking about working as a care team, when we had the competition it really reinforced team work.” 

Herbert said the incentive of possibly winning an iPad helped draw their attention back to something they were already trained to do. She also said the competition didn’t just help the MAs improve their work but also helped patients get a better understanding of their health. 

“The whole time we communicated to the patient what we were doing and if their blood pressure was high that we were going to retake it,” Herbert said. “It makes them more aware, which is always good, we want patients to be more aware and involved in their health.”