Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the Region of the Americas, and hypertension represents its main risk factor. However, population hypertension control rates in the Region are poor. Global Hearts is the World Health Organization's flagship initiative to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases. HEARTS in the Americas Initiative is its regional adaptation that seeks to be the cardiovascular disease risk management model, including hypertension and diabetes, in primary health care throughout the Americas by 2025.
HEARTS in the Americas is being implemented in 22 countries and over 2 095 primary care centers. All implementing countries have defined their treatment protocols, and HEARTS in the Americas has supported continuous improvement. Because WHO recently released the 2021 Guideline for the Pharmacological Treatment of Hypertension in Adults and HEARTS in the Americas introduced the key drivers for hypertension control, the initiative generated a methodology to help countries update and strengthen their treatment protocols.
This article describes the process of developing the treatment protocol appraisal checklist and defines the resulting clinical pathway. This tool can help countries and primary care centers to improve their protocols by identifying the improvement points and upgrading clinical pathways.