February is American Heart Month! Since 1964, American Heart Month has been a time to share awareness about cardiovascular disease and promote preventative measures for the leading cause of death in the United States. There are many ways to participate in American Heart and so many great resources out there that make it easy to spread awareness!
Participate in National Wear Red Day
Organizations around the country celebrate National Wear Red Day® on the first Friday in February every year to spread awareness for heart disease, especially among women. Encourage your staff to participate by wearing red shirts, pins, or ribbons. The NIH has images, GIFs, and social media posts ready to go that your pharmacy can share! They also have stickers that you can get printed and hand out to your patients!
Spread Awareness on Hypertension
Undetected or uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems over time. Encouraging your patients to be vigilant about their hypertension is another way to spread awareness during American Heart Month. Here are tips and resources for hypertension awareness:
Hypertension Awareness Ideas & Resources
- Remind patients that you offer blood pressure checks at your pharmacy.
- Educate patients on the proper way to measure blood pressure at home.
- Engage patients with Blood Pressure 101 or Sodium 101 quizzes.
- Encourage physical activity with this downloadable guide from the CDC.
- Print blood pressure fact sheets from the American Heart Association.
- Utilize these sample social posts and graphics from the NIH.
Educate on COVID 19 & Heart Disease
According to the CDC, there have been more deaths from cardiovascular disease during the pandemic. While, people who have serious heart conditions are also at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Therefore, continuing to encourage vaccinations, boosters, testing, and preventative measures for COVID-19 is important for the health of your patients with heart disease.
he CDC has a COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Disease Toolkit that includes material approved by CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention that you can use to encourage individuals to continue seeking cardiovascular care during COVID-19. The toolkit includes video PSAs, on Emergency Care Focus and Heart Health Focus as well as social media graphics, post examples, and pre-written digital communications that can be shared in your newsletters or blogs.
Encourage Medication Adherence
Medication adherence is critical for patients with cardiovascular disease. However, the American Heart Association reported that 24% of patients who suffer a heart attack do not fill their medications within seven days of discharge. According to the CDC, between 40% to 74% of people with diagnosed hypertension are adherent to their medications. This year for American Heart Month, implement and promote services that make refilling and taking medications easier for your patients.
Digital Refills | Adding a refill request option to your website can help simplify the refill process and thus increase medication adherence. Online refills turn a trip to the pharmacy into a simple process that patients can do from home at a time convenient for them.
Prescription Refill Reminders | Refill reminders are important in today’s busy world for medication adherence. Reminders can be sent via email, messaging, automated IVR calls or voicemail.
Home Delivery | Offering low-cost or free home delivery is another way to make it more convenient for patients to get their medication. Your patients with heart disease are at a greater risk for complications of COVID-19, so a delivery service is a great option to help them stay home and reduce the risk of exposure.
Specialty Services | Consider adding specialty services such as Medication Therapy Management (MTM) and Medication Synchronization to make it easier on patients who are managing taking multiple medications.
American Heart Month Social Media Help
With so many health organizations participating in American Heart Month, resources are abundant to help you with social media ideas!
The National National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has several social kits with pre-made social posts:
- #OurHearts – A campaign focusing on self-care and heart health
- State-based Coronary Disease Infocards
- Motion graphics & GIFs
The CDC and Alliance for the Million Hearts® have a partner toolkit focusing on heart-healthy habits for seniors. This toolkit includes video PSAs, social media messages, print material, and digital communications copy that can be utilized on your websites and social media platforms.
Still, overwhelmed with where to start? We have a team of digital marketing specialists that can curate health resources and schedule your social media content for you!
For a full list of Health Awareness months, weeks, and days, check out our 2023 health awareness calendar!