How and why do patients use home blood pressure monitors?
INTRODUCTION: Little is known about how and why patients use home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM). We investigated from where patients obtain their monitor, their reasons for using HBPM, and their frequency of performing blood pressure (BP) measurements. We also examined whether those using HBPM provide written reports of measurements to their doctor and whether they have ever had their monitor checked. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional mail survey of adult patients with hypertension enrolled in a practice-based research network of 24 primary care practices throughout the state of North Carolina. We analyzed results using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: We received 530 returned questionnaires (76% response rate). Of the 43% (n=226) who reported performing HBPM, 68% purchased their monitor from a pharmacy or department store; the remaining purchased their monitor elsewhere or received it as a gift. Approximately 19% [95% confidence interval (CI): 13.6-23.9] check their BP every day or almost every day; 26% (95% CI: 20.5-32.2) check their BP a few times per week; and 29% (95% CI: 3.0-35.0) check their BP a few times per month. For nearly one-third, their primary reason for using HBPM was because their doctor recommended it. Over one-half said they used HBPM because they were 'just interested in knowing' their BP. The majority (70%; 95% CI: 64.4-76.4) indicated that they did not provide a written report of BP readings to their doctor. Less than one-third (29%, 95% CI: 22.9-34.9) has had their monitor checked by a doctor or nurse. CONCLUSION: Most patients with hypertension using HBPM do so because of a doctor's recommendation or a simple desire to know their BP. The majority of those performing home measurements do so at least a few times per month. Most do not provide their doctor with a written report of measurements, and most have not had their monitor checked.
Viera, AJ; Cohen, LW; Mitchell, CM; Sloane, PD
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