Mobile apps may help hypertensive patients monitor blood pressure levels in the long term, according to a new study, but more evidence is needed to determine if such tools can address long-standing health concerns among more vulnerable patients.
The use of a blood pressure monitor in conjunction with a smartphone app that provides medication reminders and lifestyle education has been associated with a decrease in blood pressure levels in more than 85% of adults with stage 2 hypertension after a year. For those who participated in the study over three years, mean systolic blood pressure decreased by 20.9 mmHg. and maintained at lower levels throughout the study period.
Research published Friday at JAMA Open Network, marks the first peer-reviewed multiyear analysis that has the potential to provide some insight into the long-term effectiveness of digital blood pressure management tools.
“The engagement rate is something I haven’t seen in other digital hypertension management programs,” said study lead author Dr. Alexis Beatty, cardiologist and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, USA. issued statement. “Sustained interaction and reduction of systolic blood pressure by more than 20 mm Hg. Art. May reduce the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and death. ”
The study tracked blood pressure levels and participation rates in a self-management program among more than 28,000 patients with high blood pressure or hypertension between 2015 and 2020.
Hello Heart, which developed the hypertension self-management program used in the study, commissioned the analysis and participated in the design of the study. Two study authors work for the company.
Both the app and the blue tooth blood pressure cuff were made available to study participants through their employer-based health insurance plan.
The researchers found that adults with high engagement rates for the app had lower blood pressure during the study period compared to people with medium and low engagement rates. But the study found an association with lower blood pressure for most users at any level of interaction with the program, even after adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and behavioral factors.
The findings echo previous studies suggesting that mobile apps may be useful in the treatment of chronic diseases.
An estimated 47% of the US adult population suffers from hypertension. American Heart Associationbut only 22% of people with hypertension can adequately control their blood pressure levels.
What remains unclear is what role mobile health technologies may ultimately play in addressing inequalities in chronic disease outcomes that persist among some of the most vulnerable patient populations. Many marginalized communities, including ethnic and racial minorities, are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic diseases when they are already in their later stages, making them difficult to treat or manage successfully.
The study authors noted that one of the limitations was the lack of diversity in the pool of participants, despite the large sample size. The study population consisted of middle-aged adults with health insurance from an employer. July study published in the journal npj Digital Medicine identified only 25 studies on the effectiveness of mobile health aids in older people, people with limited education, or minorities.
Researchers in the new study acknowledged that their findings may not apply to social media and the elderly.