October 31, 2018A study by three College researchers that focuses on better identifying pre-hypertensive patients was presented during a poster session at the 10th Annual Ochsner Evidence Based Nursing Conference in New Orleans in October. The study, Hiding in Plain Sight (HIPS): An Innovative Hypertension Identification and Treatment Program, is designed to identify patients with elevated blood pressure who might not yet be diagnosed with hypertension. The study involved embedding a template into University Medical Center’s electronic medical record that gives physicians and other health-care providers a flag to patients who might be undiagnosed with hypertension. UMC is operated by the College. A lifestyle curriculum for patients was developed as part of the study, and this information is now being transferred into an app to provide improved access for UMC patients. In addition, the embedded template provides physicians access to a decision-making tree for referral to lifestyle education and pharmacotherapy. The study was piloted at UMC’s Northport location and could soon be expanded to UMC in Tuscaloosa. Funding for the study was awarded by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Dr. Louanne Friend, assistant professor in the College’s Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, is the principle investigator of the study. Co-principle investigators are: Suzanne Henson, RD, assistant professor in the Department of Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine and practicing dietitian at UMC; and Amy Sherwood, director of Health Information Technology for the College. The conference was hosted by the Center for Evidence Based Practicing and Nursing Research, which is part of Ochsner Health System.