What We Do

Heart disease is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and takes more lives than all cancers combined. Today, nearly half of American adults are at risk, but this number could be reduced with already existing evidence-based treatment and prevention strategies that can be carried out at the primary care level.

Small primary care practices are the heart of the U.S. health system—where most Americans get care. However, existing guidelines for reducing risk factors like hypertension, elevated cholesterol levels, and smoking are not well integrated into small primary care practices.

HealthyHearts NYC is working to change that. As one of seven cooperatives nationwide of the EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care initiative of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), our goal is to give primary care practices the support and expertise they need, to help patients live longer, healthier lives by reducing their risk of heart disease and to test the effectiveness of our intervention.

The Strategy: Practice Facilitation


Adapted with permission by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Rockville, MD
Click image to view full size version on AHRQ site

Aligned with broad U.S. Department of Health and Human Services efforts for Better Care, Smarter Spending and Healthier People and Million Hearts, EvidenceNOW focuses on helping thousands of primary care practices nationwide use the latest evidence to improve the heart health of millions of Americans. 

The three-year HealthyHearts NYC study uses practice facilitation to help approximately 300 small primary care practices—practices with fewer than 10 full-time providers—throughout the five boroughs incorporate the ABCS of cardiovascular disease prevention into their patients’ care and measures the effectiveness of the strategy.

The AHRQ EvidenceNOW initiative to transform health care delivery will build critical infrastructure to help smaller primary care practices, which often do not have internal resources for quality improvement, apply the latest medical research in the care they provide.

The Healthy Hearts NYC study utilizes the ABCS guidelines of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Million Hearts Initiative, which are: Aspirin as appropriate; Blood pressure control; Cholesterol management; and Smoking cessation. A central element of the intervention is enabling primary care practices to effectively draw on data to improve the quality of patient care.

All sites participating in the study receive a 12-month practice facilitation intervention based in the fundamental components of the chronic care model. Practice facilitation is a supportive service provided to a primary care practice by a trained individual or team of individuals. These individuals use a range of organizational development, project management, quality improvement, and practice improvement approaches and methods to build the internal capacity of a practice to help it engage in improvement activities over time and support it in reaching incremental and transformative improvement goals. This support may be provided onsite, virtually—through phone conferences and Webinars—or through a combination of onsite and virtual visits.

About EvidenceNOW

Aligned with broad U.S. Department of Health and Human Services efforts for Better Care, Smarter Spending and Healthier People and Million Hearts, EvidenceNOW focuses on helping thousands of primary care practices nationwide use the latest evidence to improve the heart health of millions of Americans. 

EvidenceNOW supports AHRQ’s overall mission to ensure that evidence is understood and used. Funding for EvidenceNOW comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund, which was created by the Affordable Care Act to support AHRQ’s mandate to disseminate and implement patient-centered outcomes research findings so that new findings are integrated into the delivery of health care.

This research was supported by grant number 1R18HS023922-01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The contents of this product are solely the responsibility of NYU School of Medicine and do not necessarily represent the official views of or imply endorsement by AHRQ or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Click here for a printable summary of EvidenceNOW