A new service enables patients with hypertension to monitor their own blood pressure, which could lead to fewer heart attacks and strokes
“This should result in better health for our patients, fewer patients needing emergency care, and it frees up valuable appointments for more acute patients.” Dr Jagjit Rai, partner at St David’s Family Practice in Stanwell
The service, provided in partnership with Inhealthcare, is designed to reduce the need for emergency hospital admissions and GP appointments, as well as save the time clinical staff spend on admin.
Each patient is given a blood pressure device and asked to record their blood pressure and heart rate twice a day. They then send their results to Inhealthcare, who analyse them, calculate averages and upload the readings on to GP systems. If there are any readings that are concerning, the system sends an alert to health care workers.
The launch follows a pilot of the service in North West Surrey. Dr Jagjit Rai, partner at St David’s Family Practice in Stanwell, who was involved with the pilot, said he was “delighted” with the results: “We have demonstrated that patients are happy to monitor their conditions from home, and when they do, they not only develop a better understanding of their condition, but feel empowered to manage it better through remembering to take their medication and making lifestyle choices.”
He said the new service would lead to “better preventative care” for patients and reduce the burden on GP practices because they would receive patients’ results electronically rather than having to see them each time: “This should result in better health for our patients, fewer patients needing emergency care, and it frees up valuable appointments for more acute patients.”
Patients can submit their results to Inhealthcare via an app, or via email or SMS or over the phone. The service also provides feedback and advice to patients, such as testing themselves again or contacting NHS 111 or their clinical team if there is any cause for concern.
In the population covered by the CCG, 142,700 are living with hypertension (high blood pressure), a major cause of strokes and heart attacks. Enabling these people to monitor their condition could reduce the rate of strokes and heart attacks as well as save the NHS time and money.
The pilot of 69 patients in four GP practices in Stanwell found the service helped 53 per cent of users move from high to normal threshold blood pressure within three months. Of these, 56% had achieved this through adopting lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise or changing their diet.