Blood Pressure Monitoring as a Digital Health Tool for Improving Diabetes Clinical Outcomes: Retrospective Real-world Study

J Med Internet Res. 2022 Feb 8;24(2):e32923. doi: 10.2196/32923.


Background: Remote data capture for blood glucose (BG) or blood pressure (BP) monitoring and the use of a supportive digital app are becoming the model in diabetes and hypertension chronic care. One of the goals in chronic condition management is to increase awareness and generate behavioral change in order to improve outcomes in diabetes and related comorbidities, such as hypertension. In addition, there is a lack of understanding of the association between BG and BP levels when using digital health tools.

Objective: By applying a rigorous study framework to digital health data, this study investigated the relationship between BP monitoring and BG and BP levels, as well as a lagged association between BP and BG. We hypothesized that during the first 6 months of BP monitoring, BG and BP levels would decrease. Finally, we suggested a positive association between BP levels and the following month's BG levels.

Methods: In this retrospective, real-world case-control study, we extracted the data of 269 people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who tracked their BG levels using the Dario digital platform for a chronic condition. We analyzed the digital data of the users who, in addition to BG, monitored their BP using the same app (BP-monitoring [BPM] group, n=137) 6 months before and after starting their BP monitoring. Propensity score matching established a control group, no blood pressure monitoring (NBPM, n=132), matched on demographic and baseline clinical measures to the BPM group. A piecewise mixed model was used for analyzing the time trajectories of BG, BP, and their lagged association.

Results: Analysis revealed a significant difference in BG time trajectories associated with BP monitoring in BPM and NBPM groups (t=-2.12, P=.03). The BPM group demonstrated BG reduction improvement in the monthly average BG levels during the first 6 months (t=-3.57, P<.001), while BG did not change for the NBPM group (t=0.39, P=.70). Both groups showed similarly stable BG time trajectories (B=0.98, t=1.16, P=.25) before starting the use of the BP-monitoring system. In addition, the BPM group showed a significant reduction in systolic (t=-6.42, P<.001) and diastolic (t=-4.80, P<.001) BP during the first 6 months of BP monitoring. Finally, BG levels were positively associated with systolic (B=0.24, t=2.77, P=.001) and diastolic (B=0.30, t=2.41, P=.02) BP.

Conclusions: The results of this study shed light on the association between BG and BP levels and on the role of BP self-monitoring in diabetes management. Our findings also underscore the need and provide a basis for a comprehensive approach to understanding the mechanism of BP regulation associated with BG.

Keywords: app; blood glucose; blood pressure; chronic disease; diabetes; digital therapeutic; health data; hypertension; model; monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension*
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Retrospective Studies