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Home telehealth scheme ‘reverses hypertension’

Hypertensive patients on a home monitoring pilot scheme saw their blood pressure readings fall within the normotensive range within one month, say researchers.

Their three-month pilot found a supported self-monitoring system managed to reduce the blood pressure of patients by up to 16 mmHg.

They followed 124 primary care patients with hypertension who were enrolled in scheme where they self-monitored their blood pressure using a home electronic sphygmomanometer.

The patients then texted the results to an automated interactive service – called Florence – which sent reminders and automatic responses based on the texts sent to it.

The results of the NHS Stoke on Trent CCG project were published in BMJ Open on earlier this week.

Patients had either CKD stage three or four and had blood pressure higher than 130/85 mmHg or were patients over 50 without CKD with readings higher than 140/90 mmHg despite prescribed antihypertensive medications.

The authors found the self-monitoring system managed to reduce the systolic and diastolic readings of patients with high blood pressure by 15.88 mmHg and 3.08 mmHg respectively compared with controls that saw falls of 11.42 and 2.67 mmHg.

They concluded: ‘Simple telehealth is acceptable and effective in reducing patients’ blood pressure.’

Dr Steve Kell, chair of Bassetlaw CCG and a GP in Worksop, said: ‘Telehealth definitely has its place, but different areas will have different priorities where it may be useful.  

‘Ours are COPD and heart failure. It’s about identifying what will make the most difference for patients within each CCG.’