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Tele-monitoring, pharmacists are beneficial in maintaining healthy blood pressure over short-term, study shows

Remote monitoring program significantly lowered blood pressure over 24 months compared to patients receiving standard care

September 7, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Routinely logging blood pressure measurements at home and speaking with a pharmacist every two to four weeks significantly reduced patients’ blood pressure over a span of 24 months, according to a new study in the JAMA Network Open.

The study followed 450 patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure. Roughly half were randomly assigned to a tele-monitoring program that transmitted at-home blood pressure results to their primary care clinic. They were also required to have routine phone calls with pharmacists to discuss their blood pressure.

Those participating in the tele-monitoring program worked with the pharmacist intensively for six months, and then had several additional contacts during the next six months. The other group of patients received standard care from their primary care physicians without tele-monitoring.

“We’ve known that tele-monitoring programs can reduce patients’ blood pressure up to one year. Beyond that, though, we weren’t sure how well they worked,” said Karen Margolis, MD, leader of the study and executive director of research at HealthPartners Institute. “These results suggest that blood pressure improvement only lasts for about a year after a tele-monitoring program ends. Physicians and patients need to watch and re-evaluate their blood pressure if the tele-monitoring program doesn’t continue.”

After six months, patients in the tele-monitoring group had a systolic blood pressure of 126 mm Hg, which was 10 points lower than the standard care group. At 12 months, patients in the tele-monitoring group had a systolic blood pressure of 127 mm Hg, nine points lower than the standard care group. But after that, blood pressure began to increase. By 54 months, patients in the tele-monitoring group had a systolic blood pressure of 131 mm Hg, just two points below the other group.

Blood pressure is considered high when the systolic number is 130 or above. It affects an estimated 45 percent of adults in the United States and is the leading cause of heart disease and a primary risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Margolis says these results suggest that providers and patients should consider tele-monitoring programs when possible, but long-term maintenance strategies may be needed to sustain healthy blood pressure over several years.

About HealthPartners Institute

HealthPartners Institute is part of HealthPartners, the largest consumer-governed, non-profit health care organization in the nation with a mission to improve health and well-being in partnership with members, patients and the community. HealthPartners Institute supports this mission through research, education and practice. The Institute annually conducts 400+ research studies, provides continuing medical education to 24,000 health professionals and trains 575 medical residents and fellows and 1,200 medical and advanced practice students. The Institute also supports clinical quality improvement and patient education programs. Its integration with HealthPartners’ hospitals, clinics and health plan strengthens the Institute’s ability to discover and develop evidence-based solutions and translate them into practice. Based in Minneapolis, the Institute’s work impacts care, health and well-being across the region and nation as well as internationally. For more information, visit

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