Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, have developed a home-based program to improve hypertension control rates at a lower cost than traditional office-based programs.
The team of researchers enrolled 130 people into the program, whom they recruited from a Brigham primary care clinic and the Brigham’s Watkins Cardiovascular Clinic. At the time of recruitment, the participants’ blood pressure was not under control.
The participants were shown how to use a Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure device and were instructed to measure their blood pressure at home twice daily in duplicate.
The program helped 81 percent of the participants bring their blood pressure under control in less than 2 months.
“This is a striking result, especially given the very short time frame in which control was reached: an average of 7 weeks,” saidDr. Naomi Fisher, director of Hypertension Services and the Hypertension Specialty Clinic at the Brigham, whose study has been published in the journal Clinical Cardiology.
Researchers combined several innovative strategies to create the program. Firstly, the Bluetooth-enabled blood pressure device automatically transmitted the measurements into the electronic medical records of the participants.
Each individual also had access to non-physician “patient navigators” who had received training in how to use specially designed clinical algorithms. Specialists developed these algorithms, which help assess the patients and ensure that they are receiving the correct dosage of medication.
Although this pilot study produced excellent results, the team hopes to be able to scale up the program in the near future to make sure that the method will continue to work over a more extended period and that it can be effective in other groups of people.
The researchers estimate that this new approach will significantly reduce the costs of hypertension control and prevent the risk of rel;ated conditions.
“The time-honoured model of treating hypertension via traditional visits to the doctor is neither effective nor sustainable,” study author Dr. Naomi Fisher noted
“Development of innovative solutions to manage hypertension effectively and efficiently, and thus reduce the cardiovascular risk burden in larger populations, is critical. Organizations can and should develop and adopt innovative technologies to create sustainable solutions for the control of hypertension,” she concluded.
REFERENCE: Fisher et al: Development of an entirely remote, non‐physician led hypertension management program; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/clc.23141