Is it possible to create 'heart attack-free zones'? This group's attempt to find out was associated with a 22% drop

Is it possible to capitalize on what we know about cardiovascular health and create "heart attack-free" or "stroke-free" zones?

A collaborative of stakeholders in San Diego County—the fifth most populous region of the U.S.—say they gave it their best shot and saw a reduction in heart attacks by more than 22% between 2007 and 2016, according to a study published in Health Affairs on Tuesday.

In that same time, heart attacks were reduced by only 8% across the state of California.

What made the difference? While they can't say for sure, the authors said public health officials began a collaborative called Be There San Diego in which they began began working with healthcare systems in 2010 to deploy "high-yield evidence-based practices."

That included holding monthly meetings to find ways to proactively manage hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease among their patient populations.

RELATED: Though patient survival rates have improved overall, the 'weekend effect' persists for cardiac arrest, study finds