Background Emergency department (ED) visits can be opportunities to address uncontrolled hypertension. We sought to compare short-term blood pressure measures between the Vanderbilt Emergency Room Bundle (VERB) intervention and usual care plus education. Methods and Results We conducted a randomized trial of 206 adult patients with hypertension and elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) presenting to 2 urban emergency departments in Tennessee, USA. The VERB intervention included educational materials, a brief motivational interview, pillbox, primary care engagement letter, pharmacy resources, and 45 days of informational and reminder text messages. The education arm received a hypertension pamphlet. After 78 participants were enrolled, text messages requested confirmation of receipt. The primary clinical outcome was 30-day SBP. The median 30-day SBP was 122 and 126 mm Hg in the VERB and education arms, respectively. We estimated the mean 30-day SBP to be 3.98 mm Hg lower in the VERB arm (95% CI, -2.44 to 10.4; P=0.22). Among participants enrolled after text messages were adapted, the respective median SBPs were 121 and 130 mm Hg, and we estimated the mean 30-day SBP to be 8.57 mm Hg lower in the VERB arm (95% CI, 0.98‒16.2; P=0.027). In this subgroup, the median response rate to VERB text messages was 56% (interquartile range, [26%‒80%]). Conclusions This pilot study demonstrated feasibility and found an improvement in SBP for the subgroup for whom interactive messages were featured. Future studies should evaluate the role of interactive text messaging as part of a comprehensive emergency department intervention to improve blood pressure control. Registration URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02672787.
Keywords: emergency care; hypertension; medication adherence; motivational interviewing; patient engagement.