Understanding Population Cardiovascular Health: Harnessing the Power of Electronic Health Records
In 2004 the American Heart Association (AHA) set forth an ambitious strategic goal for 2010 to 1) reduce death from coronary heart disease and stroke by 25%, 2) reduce the prevalence of smoking, high cholesterol, uncontrolled hypertension, and physical inactivity by 25%, and 3) to stop increases in obesity and diabetes relative to rates in 1999. Having achieved or exceeded goals 1 and 2 by 2008 through a number of collaborative efforts, including public education, practice guidelines and quality improvement initiatives, in 2009, the AHA reframed its focus more broadly to one of achieving increased levels of ideal cardiovascular health and reducing death from stroke and all forms of cardiovascular disease rather than just coronary heart disease. This recalibrated focus was reflected in the resultant 2020 Impact Goal: "By 2020, to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%."1 To address this goal, the strategic planning and statistics committees of the AHA developed parameters for ideal cardiovascular health (now collectively referred to as "Life's Simple 7"), against which cardiovascular health could be gauged over time. In doing so, it not only stressed the importance of "primary prevention," but also put an increased focus on "primordial prevention" (avoidance of risk factors), as a means to achieve its aggressive 2020 goals for the cardiovascular health of the US population.1
- Received August 27, 2015.
- Accepted August 28, 2015.