mHealth: Mobile Phones May Help Keep High Blood Pressure Under Control

Based on the findings of a comprehensive new study, mobile phones imbued with remote blood pressure monitoring technology greatly assisted patients afflicted with hypertension in keeping their blood pressure in check and, as a result, under control.

“The act of just giving a patient a BP home monitor had no effect,” reveals Joseph Cafazzo, PhD, PEng, senior director of eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network. “It had to have the telemonitoring component.”

“We believe that patients become far more self-aware and more accountable to their care provider knowing that the data are going back to their care provider and that the care provider will be acting on it,” Cafazzo added while revealing the results of the study recently at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Cafazzo spearheaded the mHealth platform that was designed to automate BP readings through a mobile phone-based system which was capable of providing “actionable messages to patients and critical alerts to physicians.”

According to the parameters of the study, which focused on more than one-hundred men and women suffering from both type 2 diabetes and clinically diagnosed high blood pressure, half the participants were told to monitor their blood pressure readings at home (the control group). The other half (the intervention group) transmitted (via bluetooth) to their physicians the readings registered from the mobile platform.

The results were clear.

50% of patients in the “telemonitoring group” had their BP under control. Only 29% in the control group could say the same.

“The family doctors caring for these patients really had nothing to do with the improvements. This was really a self-care tool and the patients were performing better self-care because they were more self-aware, more accountable,” Cafazzo determined.