Telemonitoring aids blood pressure control in diabetic patients

January 6, 2011

A fully automated cell phone-based telemonitoring system that involves patients in their care significantly improved blood pressure control among patients who had diabetes and uncontrolled systolic hypertension, according to a study by Alexander G. Logan, MD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

A fully automated cell phone-based telemonitoring system that involves patients in their care significantly improved blood pressure control among patients who had diabetes and uncontrolled systolic hypertension, according to a study by Alexander G. Logan, MD, of the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

Patients received pre-programmed cell phones that automatically transmitted readings from Bluetooth-enabled home blood pressure monitors to the application server. Patients received instant feedback on their cell phones, including their current blood pressure readings, along with messages ranging from congratulatory words to prompts to take additional readings over a certain period of time to obtain reliable overall readings.

If the blood pressure values were too high, patients were asked to schedule follow-up appointments with their physicians. If 3-day or 2-week averages exceeded pre-determined averages, the patients’ doctors were notified. Physicians could review the results of their patients’ blood pressure readings on a Web-based server.

At 12 months, systolic blood pressure had decreased by 9.1 mm Hg in the telemonitoring group and by 1.6 mm Hg in those monitoring their blood pressure at home in the standard manner. Blood pressure control was achieved in 37% of the patients in the phone-based telemonitoring group and in 14.2% of the controls.

The researchers are analyzing the possible reasons for the decrease in blood pressure in patients using the telemonitoring system.