Hypertension Screening: A Lifesaving Value-Add For Your Patients
Every year, more than 27 million people visit a dentist but do not see a physician. Dentists occupy an envious position of engaging with patients more frequently and having deeper connections with them than the medical community at large. This position provides the opportunity to explain medical information and demonstrate the connection between the health of the body to that of the mouth.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The American Heart Association updated their guidelines in 2017. The new threshold for diagnosis of hypertension is now 130/80 mm Hg, compared to the previous benchmark of 140/90 mm Hg.
How can your office prepare for success when it comes to this important aspect of Patient Care? 3 easy steps will have you up and running with a consistent protocol.
- Utilize and maintain the correct equipment. Whether you have a properly calibrated automated sphygmomanometer with an upper arm cuff or some other measurement device, make sure everything is working properly and someone is responsible for proper evaluation and maintenance procedures for the equipment.
- Establish written protocols and offer training. Make sure team members understand the importance of screening procedures. Train, evaluate their technique and offer support to those team members who need to improve their technique. Help them with scripts to handle patient objections. When should a dental procedure be canceled? When and where should patients be referred?
- Design and implement a follow up procedure. Nice as it is to just advise patients of their current problems, this is the perfect opportunity to awaken them to the danger and damage that can result from chronic “self-neglect”. How can you follow up with patients that need support and who will be responsible for this protocol?
Dentists can be a valuable support system in a patients’ health journey. Blood pressure screening is yet another critical way we can optimize the patient care experience. Proper equipment, training and follow up will set the stage for deeper relationships with your patients and improve their total well-being. It’s an honor to support our patients on this journey.