At-home blood pressure monitoring could improve outcomes, cut costs

Patients with high blood pressure who participate in a telemonitoring program can cut their chance of myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke by half, according to a new study published in Hypertension.

The study’s authors tracked 450 patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure from the same Minnesota health system. While 228 patients participated in a pharmacist-led telemonitoring program, measuring their own blood pressure at home and sending it in electronically, the other 222 patients received routine primary care.

Overall, 5.3% of patients in the telemonitoring group were hospitalized due to MI, stroke, stent placement or heart failure within the five years. For patients in the primary group, that figure was 10.4%.

“Home blood pressure monitoring linked with treatment actions from the health care team delivered remotely (telehealth support) in between office visits has been shown to lower blood pressure more than routine care, and patients really like it,” lead author Karen L. Margolis, MD, executive director of research for HealthPartners Institute, said in a prepared statement. “In addition, by avoiding serious cardiovascular events over five years, our results indicate significant cost savings.”

Those cost savings Margolis referenced add up to $1,900 per patient over the course of five years.

In the same statement, Margolis did note that her team’s findings were “just short of statistical significance.”

“However, we were surprised that the figures on serious cardiovascular events pointed so strongly to a benefit of the telemonitoring intervention,” she added.

The full Hypertension study is available here.