Association of an automated blood pressure measurement quality improvement program with terminal digit preference and recorded mean blood pressure in 11 clinics Journal Article uri icon
  • IMPORTANCE: Terminal digit preference has been shown to be associated with inaccurate blood pressure (BP) recording. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether converting from manual BP measurement with aneroid sphygmomanometers to automated BP measurement was associated with terminal digit preference, mean levels of recorded BP, and the rate at which hypertension was diagnosed. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This quality improvement study was conducted from May 9, 2021, to March 24, 2022, using interrupted time series analysis of medical record data from 11 primary care clinics in a single health care system from April 2008 to April 2015. The study population was patients aged 18 to 75 years who had their BP measured and recorded at least once during the study period. EXPOSURES: Manual BP measurement before April 2012 vs automated BP measurement with the Omron HEM-907XL monitor from May 2012 to April 2015. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The main outcome was the distribution of terminal digits and mean systolic BP (SBP) values obtained during 4 years of manual measurement vs 3 years of automated measurement, assessed using a generalized linear mixed regression model with a random intercept for clinic and adjusted for seasonal fluctuations and patient demographic and clinical characteristics. RESULTS: The study included 1 541 227 BP measurements from 225 504 unique patients during the entire study period, with 849 978 BP measurements from 165 137 patients (mean [SD] age, 47.1 [15.2] years; 58.2% female) during the manual measurement period and 691 249 measurements from 149 080 patients (mean [SD] age, 48.4 [15.3] years; 56.3% female) during the automated measurement period. With manual measurement, 32.8% of SBP terminal digits were 0 (20% was the expected value because nursing staff was instructed to record BP to the nearest even digit). This proportion decreased to 12.4% during the automated measurement period (expected value, 10%) when both even and odd digits were to be recorded. After automated measurement was implemented, the mean SBP estimated with statistical modeling increased by 5.09 mm Hg (95% CI, 4.98-5.19 mm Hg). Fewer BP values recorded during the automated than the manual measurement period were below 140/90 mm Hg (69.9% vs 84.3%; difference, -14.5%; 95% CI, -14.6% to -14.3%) and below 130/80 mm Hg (42.1% vs 60.0%; difference, -17.9%; 95% CI, -18.0% to -17.7%). The proportion of patients with a diagnosis of hypertension was 4.3 percentage points higher (23.4% vs 19.1%) during the automated measurement period. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this quality improvement study, automated BP measurement was associated with decreased terminal digit preference and significantly higher mean BP levels. The method of BP measurement was also associated with the rate at which hypertension was diagnosed. These findings may have implications for pay-for-performance programs, which may create an incentive to record BP levels that meet a particular goal and a disincentive to adopt automated measurement of BP.

  • Link to Article
    publication date
  • 2022
  • published in
  • JAMA network open  Journal
  • Research
  • Hypertension
  • Measurement
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Quality Improvement
  • Additional Document Info
  • 5
  • issue
  • 8