ROCHESTER, N.Y. — PharmaSmart International Inc. welcomed new guidelines updating the definition of hypertension and stressing the use of validated devices for measuring blood pressure.
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology last week announced that high blood pressure is now defined as a systolic reading of 130 mm Hg and higher or a diatolic measure of 80 and higher, compared with the prior level of 140/90.
In addition, PharmaSmart noted, the new high blood pressure guidelines urges that “if self-monitoring is used, it is important to ensure that the blood pressure (BP) measurement device used has been validated with an internationally accepted protocol and the results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.”
PharmaSmart said Monday that this consensus national guideline is endorsed by nine other national health professional organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association (APhA). Also, the device accuracy guidance comes in the wake of a 2017 CDC/AMA/APhA published Resource Guide for Pharmacists that called for the use of “only clinically-validated blood pressure kiosks” and a 2017 APhA House of Delegates Policy Adoption stating that the APhA supports “peer-reviewed clinical validation testing” and promotes “public awareness of accuracy of BP devices,” according to PharmaSmart.
“It has been a breakthrough year for awareness of BP kiosk accuracy. The CDC, AHA, AMA, APhA and many other leading organizations now acknowledge many BP devices have never been validated through peer-reviewed clinical testing, cannot be trusted for clinical decision-making and should not be integrated with EMR systems,” stated Josh Sarkis, chief strategy officer at PharmaSmart. “This strong policy statement is great news for hypertension patients and for health care providers trying to properly diagnose and treat hypertension, the silent killer.”
The lowering of the hypertension threshold from 140/90 to 130/80 means that about 50 million more Americans are now classified as having high blood pressure, PharmaSmart noted.
“The new AHA/ACC guidelines will drive increased investment by government, health plans and care organizations into high BP prevention and control,” explained Ashton Maaraba, chief operating officer of PharmaSmart. “Pharmacies can and should benefit from these investments but can only do so if they invest in guideline-compliant, interoperable BP measurement solutions. Without such solutions, it will be impossible to build the trust and respect that underpins managed care, and collaborative care contracts.”
PharmaSmart’s blood pressure measurement and health screening stations serve more than 6,500 locations, including such retail chain and independent pharmacies as well as major worksites, military bases, university schools of pharmacy, hospitals and medical clinics. The company’s PS DataSmart Health IT database holds more than 40 million targeted patient blood pressure readings.