Improving Hypertension Control and Patient Engagement Using Digital Tools

Am J Med. 2017 Jan;130(1):14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.07.029. Epub 2016 Aug 31.


Hypertension is present in 30% of the adult US population and is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. The established office-based approach yields only 50% blood pressure control rates and low levels of patient engagement. Available home technology now provides accurate, reliable data that can be transmitted directly to the electronic medical record. We evaluated blood pressure control in 156 patients with uncontrolled hypertension enrolled into a home-based digital-medicine blood pressure program and compared them with 400 patients (matched to age, sex, body mass index, and blood pressure) in a usual-care group after 90 days. Digital-medicine patients completed questionnaires online, were asked to submit at least one blood pressure reading/week, and received medication management and lifestyle recommendations via a clinical pharmacist and a health coach. Blood pressure units were commercially available that transmitted data directly to the electronic medical record. Digital-medicine patients averaged 4.2 blood pressure readings per week. At 90 days, 71% of digital-medicine vs 31% of usual-care patients had achieved target blood pressure control. Mean decrease in systolic/diastolic blood pressure was 14/5 mm Hg in digital medicine, vs 4/2 mm Hg in usual care (P < .001). Excess sodium consumption decreased from 32% to 8% in the digital-medicine group (P = .004). Mean patient activation increased from 41.9 to 44.1 (P = .008), and the percentage of patients with low patient activation decreased from 15% to 6% (P = .03) in the digital-medicine group. A digital hypertension program is feasible and associated with significant improvement in blood pressure control rates and lifestyle change. Utilization of a virtual health intervention using connected devices improves patient activation and is well accepted by patients.

Keywords: Chronic disease; Hypertension; Patient engagement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory / instrumentation
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Patient Participation / methods*
  • Telemedicine / instrumentation
  • Telemedicine / methods*