CARDIO Approach

CARDIO: A six-pillar strategy for reducing heart disease.

Through Better Hearts Better Cities, the Novartis Foundation and its partners have pioneered a new strategy for addressing cardiovascular disease in low-income urban settings. The new strategy consists of six pillars, summarized as CARDIO – shorthand for quality of Care, Access, policy Reform, Digital technology, Intersectoral collaboration, and Ownership.  

The CARDIO approach will be presented in the Urban Population Health Toolkit in early 2021. The toolkit will provide policy makers and global health actors with insights, best practices, evidence-based strategies, and resources to improve hypertension detection, treatment and control.  


Improving hypertension management requires bringing it in line with established guidelines. In practice, this means updating clinical protocols, translating them into decision-support tools, training healthcare professionals, and enhancing care and patient engagement.  


Bringing health and care closer to where people live and work involves training non-health players to raise awareness on cardiovascular risk factors and to conduct hypertension screening.  

Policy reform 

To address the growing burden of cardiovascular disease and the leading risk factors of high blood pressure, governments should enforce strategies and reforms, taxation and incentive structures, that encourage healthier lifestyles.  

Digital technology 

Digitizing health information systems is critical, but these systems need to be interoperable. Digital technology also provides opportunities through distance learning, bluetooth-enabled blood pressure measurement devices, or apps to manage hypertension screening, diagnosis and treatment.  

Intersectoral collaboration 

Public- and private-sector stakeholders from across society – spanning health, urban planning, finance, technology, education, work, insurance, food and agriculture, and professional associations – all play a role in fighting hypertension. 


For maximum impact, local authorities and local partners should own the design, implementation and monitoring of interventions and solutions to fight hypertension and cardiovascular disease.