At-Home Monitors Help BP Control

MANAGED CARE July 2010. ©MediMedia USA

Patients who use blood pressure monitors at home and use Web reporting tools that connect them to clinicians appear to significantly improve their ability to manage their hypertension, says research from Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

The study involved 348 patients with uncontrolled blood pressure who were randomly categorized into two groups: usual care and home monitoring.

The usual care group was managed in a typical model that involved checking blood pressure during office visits.

The home monitoring group used a blood pressure device that uploaded data to the patient’s account using Microsoft HealthVault, a secure, Web-based data storage site. The readings were automatically transferred to Kaiser’s electronic disease registry.

The insurer’s clinical pharmacists used the computer registry to monitor readings and consulted with patients to adjust their antihypertensive medications based on proven protocols.

“Our study suggests that using technology to engage individuals in their care at home may be a better way to help patients achieve a healthy blood pressure,” says David Magid, MD, a Kaiser senior scientist.

At the beginning of the study, the average systolic blood pressure for the home monitoring group was 149 mmHg; it was 145 mmHg in the usual care group.

At six months, patients in the home monitoring group were 50 percent more likely to have healthy blood pressure than the usual care group. Similarly, a significantly greater decrease in systolic blood pressure (-21 mmHg) at six months occurred in the home monitoring group. It was -9 mmHg for the usual care group .

In previous research, Magid found that when patients used home monitoring, and were required to write down and call in the results, progress toward the blood pressure goal was slight.

This latest study provides an additional layer of automation and convenience by directly feeding the readings from the home blood pressure cuff to the patient’s care team.