Researchers: Telehealth Visits OK for High Blood Pressure Monitoring
By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media
It seems patients with high blood pressure can receive treatment just as effectively via a telehealth visit as those who visit a clinic in person, according to the results of a paper published this week.
Researchers recruited 3,071 subjects from 21 clinical sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Each patient recorded a blood pressure of at least 150/95 mmHg or higher, which the authors classified as moderately severe hypertension. Participants were an average age of 60 years (47% male, 19% Black).
Investigators split the cohort into two groups. In one group, patients went to a clinic for face-to-face visits with physicians and medical assistants. In the other group, patients communicated with clinical pharmacists or nurse practitioners via telehealth. The telehealth group monitored their blood pressure with devices they were issued.
The authors reported that in both groups, there was an average decline of about 18 mmHg on the systolic blood pressure and 10 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure. There was no significant difference in the change over time. However, participants in the telehealth group were more likely than clinic patients to report better satisfaction with their care and were likelier to report their numbers more often.
Notably, only about 30% of subjects completed their telehealth sessions. In addition to ensuring higher compliance rates, future investigations also might benefit from larger and more diverse cohorts. Still, the results of this work suggest monitoring blood pressure via telehealth sessions is just as safe and effective as in-person clinic visits.