Background: The Million Hearts® initiative aims to prevent heart disease and stroke in the United States by mobilizing public and private sectors around a core set of objectives, with particular attention on improving blood pressure control. South Asians in particular have disproportionately high rates of hypertension and face numerous cultural, linguistic, and social barriers to accessing healthcare. Interventions utilizing Health information technology (HIT) and community health worker (CHW)-led patient coaching have each been demonstrated to be effective at advancing Million Hearts® goals, yet few studies have investigated the potential impact of integrating these strategies into a clinical-community linkage initiative. Building upon this initiative, we present the protocol and preliminary results of a research study, Project IMPACT, designed to fill this gap in knowledge.
Methods: Project IMPACT is a stepped wedge quasi-experimental study designed to test the feasibility, adoption, and impact of integrating CHW-led health coaching with electronic health record (EHR)-based interventions to improve hypertension control among South Asian patients in New York City primary care practices. EHR intervention components include the training and implementation of hypertension-specific registry reports, alerts, and order sets. Fidelity to the EHR intervention is assessed by collecting the type, frequency, and utilization of intervention components for each practice. CHW intervention components consist of health coaching sessions on hypertension and related risk factors for uncontrolled hypertensive patients. The outcome, hypertension control (<140 mmHg systolic blood pressure (BP) and <90 mmHg diastolic BP), is collected at the aggregate- and individual-level for all 16 clinical practices enrolled.
Discussion: Project IMPACT builds upon the evidence base of the effectiveness of CHW and Million Hearts® initiatives and proposes a unique integration of provider-based EHR and community-based CHW interventions. The project informs the effectiveness of these interventions in team-based care approaches, thereby, helping to develop relevant sustainability strategies for improving hypertension control among targeted racial/ethnic minority populations at small primary care practices.
Trial registration: This study protocol has been approved and is made available on Clinicaltrials.gov by NCT03159533 as of May 17, 2017.
Keywords: Community health workers (CHWs); Community-clinical linkages; Electronic health record (EHR); Health information technology (HIT); Hypertension; Immigrant health; Million hearts® initiative; South Asians.