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First posted on Educate the Young on 02/03/2013

David Mayer MD, Vice President of Quality and Safety for MedStar Health

In October of last year, MedStar Health became the first health system to join the Million HeartsTMcampaign, an effort launched by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017 (see T Friedman & D Berwick, N Engl J Med 2011; 365:e27). As a result, every MedStar patient who sees a cardiologist or primary care provider will be asked to take the “Million Hearts Pledge” and adopt the “ABCs” of cardiovascular health (seeMedStar Press Release, 10/8/12). The ABCs below, are also a way to capture Stage 1 & 2 Meaningful Use data in a truly meaningful way — using healthcare prevention as both a springboard and outcomes-based strategy. ABCs include:

  • A – Aspirin for people at risk
  • B – Blood pressure control
  • C – Cholesterol management
  • S – Smoking cessation

Million HeartsTM provides a number of resources for your teams to pick up the program and run with it at your institutions as well. Videos, journal articles, took kits and access to partners who can share best practices all can be found here, and following is one example of a video being used to educate individuals on risk factors of stroke. Dr. Amy Hsia, Medical Director of the MedStar Washington Hospital Stroke Center, reminds viewers that stroke is preventable:

As Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have shared, most people wait until after someone in their own social network experiences a cardiovascular event to adopt prevention strategies (see ETY post,The Power of Social Networks to Change Health Behavior). Here’s a chance to be a leader within your own social network and potentially impact the health of your friends and family. Share the resources provided by Million HeartsTM with friends and family. Share what works here at ETY as well.