Scientists develop simple home-based blood pressure measuring device for diabetics

August 29, 2017

The study involves recruiting 400 people with diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension who receive care through Fallon Clinics. Half of them will act as the control group by continuing to receive standard medical care. The other half will each receive an automated blood pressure cuff capable of uploading readings through a computer. The test patients will also receive instructions on how to use their cuffs at home, connect them to a computer, and upload their readings into the free Microsoft HealthVault personal health record system, which allows them to store their health information from many sources in one location so that it's always organized and available online. The blood pressure data will then be transferred automatically into Fallon Clinic's electronic health record system, where it will alert a team of diabetes-care nurses to patients who need medication changes.Marquard's role is to assess how well these 200 test patients adopt and adapt to the technology. "In our case," says Marquard, "my team is testing how patients use electronic blood pressure instruments to connect with HealthVault. The goal is to control their blood pressure more effectively and adjust their medication in a much more timely and effective way. You need frequent and accurate blood pressure readings in order to change the medication appropriately."One result of the project will be an intervention for patients whose blood pressure falls outside the target range. The research team will set up electronic flags to alert nurses whenever some kind of action with a patient is needed. In response to each alert, nurses can use standard protocols to alter that patient's blood pressure medications and thereby bring the blood pressure into a healthful range.

Marquard's team is also responsible for creating the instructional material that, along with in-person demonstrations by nurses, will teach patients how to use the technology. In addition, the study will measure a range of outcomes, including costs of the intervention, medication utilization, and a variety of patient-reported outcomes. Furthermore, researchers will interview and observe study subjects and care providers to gain a better understanding of factors affecting uptake and use of the intervention.

Source: University of Massachusetts