Online Program

Integration of Community Health Workers into Care Teams for Patients with Hypertension

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Caitlin Allen, MPH, Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Anamika Satsangi, MPHc, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Cam Escoffery, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
J. Nell Brownstein, PhD, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Rates of hypertension control remain particularly low among underserved populations; consequently the disparities in cardiovascular disease mortality in underrepresented groups are increasing. While evidence exists to support community health workers (CHWs) as effective interventionists for hypertension self-management among underserved groups, the level of integration and coordination with health teams is unknown. This study aims to understand the roles CHWs have in hypertension self-management, ways that CHWs promote and support medication adherence according and factors that support CHWs in their roles. The study team conducted an online survey of over 250 CHWs and 23 telephone interviews with CHWs using a semi-structured interview guide. Findings show that CHWs’ roles in hypertension self-management include: education (84%), removing knowledge barriers about medicines (74%), increasing access to providers (73%), and improving patient-provider relationships (70%), Over half of CHWs consider themselves an important part of the care team for patients with hypertension and 75% reported feeling well supported in their work. CHWs feel most supported when they have strong relationships with their team, are well trained, and make connections with CHWs outside of their organization. By understanding CHWs’ roles in hypertension self-management, healthcare professionals can better prepare to integrate CHWs into healthcare teams. This research is unique because of its focus on gaining CHWs’ perspective about their work. Results from this study will help healthcare professionals, policy makers, and academics better understand CHWs and how they can best be integrated into care teams to address barriers for patients prevent and manage hypertension.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Define community health workers roles in hypertension self-management. Compare three effective and three ineffective strategies for integrating CHWs into the care team for patients with hypertension. Describe three issues CHWs face in becoming part of the patient care team for patients or clients with hypertension. Assess ways CHWs may fit into learners own community based organization or clinical setting.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I am the PI on this project and have experience working with CHWs on the local, state, and national levels.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.