Why add self-measured blood pressure monitoring to your medical practice

Troy Parks , News Writer

In the last decade, the number of hypertension-related deaths in the United States increased by 66 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Self-measured blood pressure monitoring (SMBP) is a great way to engage patients in managing their hypertension. With American Heart Month underway, we’re sharing three key advantages to using SMBP in your practice.

Sometimes called home blood pressure monitoring, SMBP is any self-measured blood pressure that occurs outside the clinical setting. Research has shown that SMBP not only improves blood pressure control, but also increases patient engagement in making healthy lifestyle changes and improving medication adherence.

Here are three clinical benefits of using SMBP in your practice:

  • SMBP is a better predictor of health. Randomized controlled trials have shown that blood pressure measurements conducted at home predict cardiovascular morbidity and mortality better than blood pressure measurements taken at the doctor’s office.
  • You will obtain more blood pressure readings over a longer period of time. Having blood pressure readings that are more representative of a patient’s true blood pressure are crucial to accurately diagnosing and assessing blood pressure control options for patients with hypertension. SMBP also helps guide your decision making when trying to diagnose a patient with high blood pressure. Using blood pressures measured outside of the office is now recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension when office blood pressures are high.
  • SMBP helps patients take control of their own health. Patients often adhere to treatment more often when they feel like they are a part of the process of improving their health. Read how one patient partnered with his physician to improve his health using self-measured blood pressure.

Other ways to improve blood pressure monitoring

Make sure your health care team is getting the most accurate readings and taking the most effective action to help your patients with hypertension get their blood pressure under control. The AMA’s Improving Health Outcomes initiative offers several resources for your team and your patients.

The “M.A.P.” (Measure accurately, Act rapidly, Partner with patients) collection of tools includes:

  • Common errors in blood pressure measurement
  • Posters that shows the proper positioning for the patient and the cuff
  • Additional resources about self-measured blood pressure

Additional insights to help improve blood pressure management