Better Health Partnership

Issue Background

Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death in the United States for decades.   Each year, the condition causes nearly a third of the deaths in the United States and receives more than 15 percent of health spending, amounting to roughly $312 billion each year.1 Additionally, 29 percent of American adults have hypertension and another third have prehypertension—both early warning signs of cardiovascular disease—but only 52 percent of people with hypertension had their condition under control.2 Improving the quality of American health care, then, demands a particular focus on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

In Ohio, the age-adjusted heart disease death rate is 10 percent higher than the rate for the United States.3 The disease is responsible for nearly 25 percent of Ohio deaths each year.

About Better Health Partnership

Better Health Partnership addresses the prevalence of heart disease in Ohio by developing and partnering with programs across the State that align with core principles of ongoing national health care delivery system reform efforts. By promoting primary care as the center of the health care system, the Partnership supports efforts to shift from volume-based payment to value-based payment and enable comprehensive, coordinated, and patient-centered care.

Overview of Activities

The Partnership supports numerous programs, including onsite coaching for quality improvement and building team-based care, to advance primary care practice adoption of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model. The PCMH model emphasizes care coordination, stronger doctor-patient engagement, improved access to primary care services, and proactive management of chronic conditions. Since 2009, more than 52 practices driving higher-quality patient-centered care at low costs have achieved National Committee on Quality Assurance PCMH recognition with Better Health Partnership's assistance.

Primary care practices' transition to the PCMH model is enabled by effective measurement and actionable feedback on the care they provide. Providers and practices who participate in Better Health Partnership agree to provide clinical quality measures to the organization every 6 months. All participating practices have adopted or are in the process of adopting electronic health record systems from which clinical data are provided to Better Health Partnership's Data Center. The Partnership uses these timely data to provide system- and community-level benchmarks on accepted measures of quality that practices can act on and to deliver timely reports to the community on provider-level quality and regional trends. Further, Better Health Partnership mines the data to identify positive outliers, verifies that the results followed deliberate improvement actions on the providers' parts to improve, and invites the high-achieving practice to share its processes so others can replicate the success. The Partnership convenes providers from across northeast Ohio through learning networks and events such as the biannual Learning Collaborative Summits, which provide an opportunity to spread best practices, showcase successes, and overcome common challenges.


The Partnership collaborates with stakeholders to provide better and more affordable care in northeast Ohio to address the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. The Partnership currently publishes scores on the quality of care, primarily for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, delivered by more than 700 providers in 68 primary care practices of 9 health systems in Cuyahoga County and other adjacent counties.4

Between 2010 and 2013, the Partnership reduced hospitalizations for patients with diabetes, hypertension, angina, or heart failure by 10%, saving $20 million in health care costs. From 2014 to 2015, the Partnership's practices showed high performance on blood pressure control and cholesterol management measures, two measures tracked as part of the national Million Hearts® initiative, compared with national averages reported by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.5

Alignment to the NQS

Better Health Partnership NQS Priorities: Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.

The Partnership's efforts promote:

  • The most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.


Learn more about Better Health Partnership or contact for more information.

1 Million Hearts. Costs & Consequences.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet.
3 Ohio Department of Health. The Impact of Chronic Disease in Ohio: 2015.
4 Better Health Partnership. 15th Community Health Checkup, Summer 2015.
5 Better Health Partnership. NCQA/HEDIS Measures of Comprehensive Care for Diabetes and High Blood Pressure.

Page last reviewed March 2017
Page originally created November 2016
Internet Citation: Better Health Partnership. Content last reviewed March 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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