Blood pressure monitoring strategy works, until program ends

A study recently published in JAMA Network Open found that a telemonitoring program involving pharmacists was effective in curbing participants' hypertension.

A study recently published in JAMA Network Open found that a telemonitoring program involving pharmacists was effective in curbing participants' hypertension. While patients of Bloomington, MN-based HealthPartners achieved lower blood pressure levels after 6 and 12 months, those levels declined after patients concluded the program, which involved people checking their blood pressure at home at least 6 times per week and regularly talking by phone with pharmacists about the results. Five years after the pharmacist consultations ended, the blood pressure levels of the participants returned to the same levels as a group of patients in the study who received only routine clinic care, the study results show. Karen Margolis, lead author of the study and executive director of research at HealthPartners Institute, says talking with medical professionals who can interpret the results and recommend adjustments to medications is more effective than patients only checking blood pressure at home. The research validated the effectiveness of the telemonitoring approach, she added. The first results from the project were published in 2013, indicating that after 6 months, patients in the telemonitoring group had average systolic blood pressure levels 10 points lower than the average levels of the comparison group.