Share The Pressure

A new pilot project shows that online training and an updated Heart Age tool can help health professionals and patients share decision-making to lower blood pressure. 


The project included an online training programme for health professionals combined with an updated Heart Age tool to help patients understand their disease risk and motivate them to change their health behaviour. The project was presented at the British and Irish Hypertension Society annual scientific meeting in Brighton this September. 


Who created Share The Pressure?  

The project was co-piloted by C3 Collaborating for Health in partnership with Younger Lives and Smart Health. C3 is a public health organisation founded in 2009 by nurse Christine Hancock to confront the growing problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease which, throughout her career, she saw was not being addressed early enough in people’s lives.  

Share the Pressure is part of Project chAnGE– a Europe-wide programme that aims to translate clinical science into quality patient care and was established under the European Innovation Partnership Action on Healthy and Active Ageing, in collaboration with Viatris, a Pfizer subsidiary.


Why was Share The Pressure created?  

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major cause of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke, which are responsible for 18 million deaths each year. 

Over a billion people worldwide have high blood pressure but it often goes undiagnosed. Even when it is diagnosed, it’s often not brought down to target level.  

By lowering blood pressure, patients and the health professionals treating them can lower the risk of stroke, heart disease and dementia. The team collaborating on the project acknowledge that patient preferences need to be considered when establishing treatment. 

Aims of the project 

The team set out to create a scalable model for facilitating shared decision making. To achieve this, they aimed to:  

  • identify how communication methods for explaining the risk of cardiovascular disease can be used to motivate shared decision-making 
  • gain insights on patient perceptions of cardiovascular disease risk
  • gain insights from focus groups to adapt 'Heart Age', a risk communication tool that’s already in use. 

They then worked to design and deliver virtual training for healthcare professionals on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk communication that engaged patients on the personal benefits of controlling high blood pressure, improving shared decision-making.  

What the project involved 

Blood Pressure UK supported the project with advice on patient engagement, the Heart Age tool, and our materials to guide advice for patients.  

1,148 HCPs (healthcare providers) took part across 37 countries in 17 sessions, and 708 users completed a questionnaire and received a plan for improving their health.  

All interventions were adapted for online delivery due to the pandemic.  

The team then developed a Share The Pressure website containing health professional resources, the Heart Age tool, virtual training, and monthly practice sessions. The Heart Age tool itself was adapted to be more patient-centric.  

What did the project find?  

The results showed that:  

  • even during a pandemic, patients were interested in their blood pressure and wanted to be more engaged in decision making and were keen to know their Heart Age
  • health professionals engaged well with the training models and indicated that they could visualise how it could be used to aid care and conversation with patients
  • the model can be used during a pandemic
  • the project indicates great interest by health professionals in the UK and other countries.

The project was presented at the BIHS (British and Irish Hypertension Society) annual meeting and the poster includes the findings and the stats behind them.   

View the poster or scan the QR code below!