AJMC Study Reviews Benefits of Web-based Monitoring with Pharmacists to Lower Patients' BP

With 73 million Americans suffering from hypertension, and the disease costing the U.S. healthcare system $73 billion a year, health plans are seeking new, cost-effective ways to help patients control high blood pressure. In search of new ideas, researchers from the Group Health Cooperative, which serves patients in Washington State and Idaho, examined how well a Web-based monitoring system would help patients with high-blood pressure get it under control.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 3, 2013

AJMC Study Reviews Benefits of Web-based Monitoring with Pharmacists to Lower Patients’ BP

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — With 73 million Americans suffering from hypertension, and the disease costing the U.S. healthcare system $73 billion a year, health plans are seeking new, cost-effective ways to help patients control high blood pressure. In search of new ideas, researchers from the Group Health Cooperative, which serves patients in Washington State and Idaho, examined how well a Web-based monitoring system would help patients with high-blood pressure get it under control.

The study team, led by Paul A. Fishman, PhD, followed three groups of patients in a randomized trial:

  • A group receiving usual care for hypertension, including regular doctors’ appointments and information about lifestyle changes and medication, and information about a Web site where they could get information and monitor lab results.
  • A group given a home BP monitor and instructions on its use, in addition to the elements of usual care.
  • A home BPM plus pharmacist care group, which received the monitor as well as direct supervision from a pharmacist trained to treat hypertension. Patients received a secure email message and a phone call, and the pharmacist detailed the patient’s action plan, medications, and helped the patient select a lifestyle goal.

The trial followed 778 patients for a year. After that period, those working online with the pharmacist had improved their blood pressure 56 percent, compared to 31 percent for the usual care group and 36 percent for those with the home BP monitor only.

The authors found that providing a secure Web site and giving patients tools to “collaboratively manage their care with clinical pharmacists is both a clinically effective and cost-effective way to improve blood pressure control.”

Giving patients the tools to identify and manage their own medical needs with support, while using health information technology, shows the potential for increasing access to care without substantially increasing costs, the authors note. For the full study, click here.

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