The American Medical Association on Thursday launched an initiative to standardize blood pressure measurement training, hoping that its virtual courses will help future physicians take more accurate readings of patients.
For the 108 million U.S. adults living with hypertension, accurate blood pressure measurements are key to diagnosis and treatment, as well as for the prevention of conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
However, training to measure blood pressure varies in medical schools and often leaves students unprepared.
“This effort is part of AMA’s ongoing commitment to guiding the future of medicine by rethinking medical education, training and lifelong learning – ensuring that medical students are equipped to provide care in the healthcare environment. rapidly evolving given the growing use of telehealth and monitoring of blood pressure at home, ”WADA President Dr. Susan Bailey said in a statement Thursday.
A 2019 AMA and American Heart Association survey found that about 41% of blood pressure measurements taken in all medical practices were probably not 100% accurate. Only 23% of healthcare professionals can perform the necessary steps to obtain an accurate reading of blood pressure.
Because blood pressure measurement is often performed inadequately in clinical practice, it can cause errors that lead to wrong decisions in 20% to 45% of cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 24% of adults with hypertension have their condition under control, and uncontrolled hypertension contributes to about 500,000 deaths annually in the United States.
To address this, AMA offers uniform evidence-based blood pressure measurement techniques to improve the health of citizens and control blood pressure rates across the nation.
This effort follows the 2019 virtual module developed by the AMA and AHA called “Achieving Accuracy: BP Measurement,” since health care professionals do not receive regular blood pressure measurement training.
As part of the start of the initiative, modules will also be incorporated into the fall 2021 curriculum of five schools: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Morehouse School of Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine, and UNC School of Medicine.
The “Essential BP Measurement Students” series includes three online modules to address possible gaps in training and teach students about topics such as automated blood pressure, how to prepare a patient for measurements, and how to make measurements with different devices.
Each module, from the essentials to the refresher lesson, is available for free on the WADA’s Ed Hub site.
In 2022, the AMA plans to expand the use of modules in American health universities and colleges.