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Prev Chronic Dis. 2012;9:E48. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Feasibility of partnering with emergency medical services to identify people at risk for uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Box 357660, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. hendrika@u.washington.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Uncontrolled high blood pressure (HBP) is a significant health problem and often goes undetected. In the prehospital care-delivery system of 9-1-1 emergency medical services (EMS) calls, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) routinely collect medical information, including blood pressure values, that may indicate the presence of chronic disease. This information is usually archived without any further follow-up. We conducted several planning activities during the fall of 2006 to determine if a partnership between researchers at the Health Marketing Research Center at the University of Washington, Public Health Seattle King County EMS division, and several large fire departments could be developed to help identify community residents with uncontrolled HBP and determine the most effective way to communicate HBP information to them.

METHODS:

We partnered with 4 King County, Washington, fire departments that provide 9-1-1 EMS to develop an intervention for people with uncontrolled HBP who were attended by EMTs in response to a 9-1-1 call for assistance. On the basis of discussions with EMS personnel at all levels, we developed a system by which we could identify at-risk community residents by using medical incident report forms that EMS personnel completed; we consulted with EMS personnel to determine the most effective means of reaching these people. In addition we developed a survey to assess community residents' beliefs about blood pressure control, the role of EMTs as health care providers, and the convenience of fire stations as places to have blood pressure checked. Using contact information that EMS personnel obtained, we surveyed 282 community residents from a total of 794 people whom EMTs had identified as at risk for uncontrolled HBP to help us understand our target audience.

RESULTS:

In consultation with EMS personnel, we determined that direct mail was the most effective way to reach people with uncontrolled HBP identified from EMS records to advise them of their risk. On the basis of the number with a known response to each question, 67% (n = 180/269) of the respondents reported that a doctor or other health professional had told them they had HBP, 95% (246/259) believed that regular screening for HBP was important, 65% (166/254) said that EMTs were highly credible health care providers, and 82% (136/165) said that they would feel comfortable receiving blood pressure screening at a local fire station.

CONCLUSION:

Partnering with local EMS may be an effective way to identify and reach community residents with uncontrolled HBP with information on their medical condition and to encourage them to have follow-up screening.

PMID:
22300868
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3340291
Free PMC Article
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