Telephone Call Intervention Helps Lower Blood Pressure

For patients with HTN in under-developed countries, weekly automated calls tied to drop in SBP

MONDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Automated weekly telephone calls for six weeks correlate with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) for patients with hypertension in low/middle income countries (LMICs), according to research published in the October issue of Telemedicine and e-Health.

John D. Piette, Ph.D., of the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System in Michigan, and colleagues conducted a six-week randomized study involving 181 patients with high SBP, defined as ≥140 mm Hg for individuals without diabetes and ≥130 mm Hg for patients with diabetes, to evaluate the efficacy of a cloud computing model using automated self-management telephone calls and a home BP monitor. Patients from Honduras and Mexico, many of whom (117) had low literacy or high hypertension information needs, were randomly allocated to receive the weekly automated monitoring and behavior change telephone calls sent from a server in the United States, plus a home BP monitor (intervention), or to receive BP results and hypertension information at baseline plus usual health care (control).

After six weeks, the researchers found that the SBP in the intervention group decreased significantly, by 4.2 mm Hg, relative to controls. In the subgroup of patients with higher information needs, the average SBP reduction was 8.8 mm Hg. Patients who received the intervention reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms and medication problems and better general health and greater satisfaction with care, compared with controls.

"Automated telephone care management plus home BP monitors can improve outcomes for hypertensive patients in LMICs," the authors write. "A cloud computing model within regional telecommunication centers could make these services available in areas with limited infrastructure for patient-focused informatics support."

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