Million Hearts


ASTHO Million Hearts

Local, state and tribal public health units have come together to make a difference in hypertension identification, control and improvement in North Dakota thanks to the Million Hearts Initiative. 

The Million Hearts Initiative is a national initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the initiative in an effort to bring together a variety of stakeholders at the federal, state, regional and local level to coordinate public health, clinical care and policy approaches to the problems surrounding hypertension control and education nationwide. 

North Dakota received the Million Hearts State Learning Collaborative Awards beginning September 2014 to directly explore innovative ideas to prevent and reduce hypertension prevalence in our state. Since that time, numerous stakeholders and partners have been brought together to partake in this work. 

Project Partners

Southwestern District Health Unit, Dickinson: Piloted the use of HC Standard for blood pressure data collection and reporting and sharing the information with primary care providers. Utilized community paramedics in blood pressure screenings. Implemented Heart 360 and served as mentor for individuals using Heart 360.

Central Valley Health District, Jamestown: Worked to connect their electronic health record system to the ND Health Information Network and tested connectivity and capabilities. Implemented Heart 360 and served as mentor for individuals using Heart 360.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND, Fargo: Developed a hypertension toolkit that focused on accuracy of blood pressure measurement. Provided face-to-face training to Million Hearts pilot sites. BCBS is exploring with other stakeholders a business plan for provider reimbursement.

Healthy North Dakota, Bismarck: Communicated Million Hearts efforts through existing statewide partnerships and facilitated state health improvement plan Million Hearts strategy implementation.

Quality Health Associates of ND, Minot: Assisted in creating community linkages for hypertension prevention and provided hypertension prevalence state and county maps. Incorporated Million Hearts initiatives into quality improvement efforts.

ND Health Information Network, Bismarck: Created a business plan for health information exchange and created a process in the ND HIN to receive blood pressure data from electronic health records and present that data graphically in the clinical portal.

ND Department of Health Division of Chronic Disease (CD), Bismarck: Focused on providing training on how to take blood pressures appropriately, through a fact sheet, training for Cardiac-Ready Community volunteers and provided information at the Hypertension Summit. The CD Division has a full-time staff person dedicated to advancing hypertension identification and management in the state.

ND Department of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Section, Bismarck: Provided technical assistance in the implementation of HC Standard and its upgrades. Developed Cardiac Ready Community designation criteria and assisted pilot communities in implementing hypertension prevention efforts.

Project Initiatives

Hypertension screenings and processes to refer individuals with high blood pressure took place at various sites throughout the state focusing on varying populations. Blood pressure screenings were conducted by local public health, tribal health, community paramedics and dental providers. 

Heart 360 is a tool provided by the American Heart Association that helps users understand and track factors that affect heart health, including blood pressure, weight, medications, etc. Volunteers at the sites indicated in the map assisted and mentored North Dakotans with high blood pressure in how to use and track their information in the program.