Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Focusing on the Patient

Focusing on the Patient

Texas Tech Physicians new “outcomes” focus for the Delivery System Incentive Program has two major parts — one includes diagnosing and controlling hypertension among our patients. According to Clyde Yancey, M.D., past president of the American Heart Association, hypertension is common. It seems if a person lives long enough, he or she will develop hypertension. The good news is we now have medications to treat hypertension. Most patients can tolerate these medications after a little time is spent finding the right medication, dosage and frequency. 

In order to help our patients manage their hypertension, we first need to collect an accurate measurement.  Sounds simple, right?  As Lee Corso, the former coach and ESPN College Game Day sportscaster might say, “Not so fast my friend.” In fact, there is both an art and science to obtaining an accurate blood pressure in a clinical setting.  And, this business of “white coat syndrome” (where just being in the doctor’s office causes a patient to exhibit a higher blood pressure reading than normal) is a very real thing. This is why we sometimes advise patients to monitor their blood pressure at home. 

So, what are some simple tips? 

For one thing, it is never a good idea just to place a blood pressure cuff on a person who has just walked in from a distant parking lot. The patient needs to be sitting in a comfortable position with both feet on the floor for at least 5 minutes. It’s not necessary to reach a zen state, but experts say it is important for the patient be as relaxed as possible.

Lacy Phillips, MSN, R.N., and Erin Nash MSN, R.N., are working on a video that will help remind folks of the proper technique.  Zach Mulkey, M.D., will review their efforts and offer suggestions. It will be interesting to see how their video turns out.  Maybe they will include humorous examples that might give us a laugh on how not to do it to attract our attention. 

When a physician is considering whether to place a patient on blood pressure medication, having an accurate reading is not a laughing matter. We also want to do well on our DSRIP goals related to helping our patients control hypertension. 

Have a great week! 

On another subject, I want to recognize the following people who were honored at the SPIRIT Awards Ceremony this week.  Please congratulate them as you see them.  Each is highly deserving.