The use of a telemedicine system to self-report blood pressure and other health data remotely seems to help patients improve their blood pressure and make positive lifestyle changes, according to a study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
In a six-month trial, 241 patients with high blood pressure—a systolic rate of 140 mmHg or higher—but no evidence of heart disease were placed into one of two care groups. In the first, participants received standard care from their primary-care physicians, but generally had no communication between the initial appointment and the six-month follow-up. The second group of patients were trained to monitor their blood pressure at home, using a cuff, and report those findings, as well as heart rate, weight, daily steps taken and tobacco use. Participants submitted the data to their physicians via telephone or Internet twice a week and received information and guidance in return to help them manage their blood pressure.