The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently released new guidelines that LOWER the at-risk threshold for blood pressure (BP). The guidelines eliminate the “prehypertension” category, instead classifying BP as either “Elevated” (120-129 and <80), “Stage I hypertension” (130-139 or 80-89) and “Stage II hypertension” (>140/90 mm Hg).

The new guidelines are designed to support clinical care and treatment of hypertension, but what is the impact for outcomes-based wellness programs? To consider this, we go back to the recommendations and note that the new lower definition of hypertension should not be defined in a vacuum, but rather by using trended BP measurements over time. The ACC is careful to point out that more than one reading is needed to determine true BP.

US Wellness recommends that the use of BP in outcomes allow for a variability factor when BP is based on a one-time screening result....