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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

Mobile Healthcare Apps: Good or Bad?

Picture of Mobile Phone with Internet and Networking Concept Art

Healthcare Mobile Apps – there are certainly no shortage of them, and they cover just about every area of health care you can think of, including mobile blood pressure measurement. According to a recent online article published by Medical News Today, more than 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health app within the next year. And the FDA has certainly taken notice of this growing trend, recently clarifying that only a very specific group of health apps are actually validated in accordance with their guidelines and regulated under their governance.

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Errors in Images Depicting BP Measurement - No Wonder You’re Doing It Wrong!

Errors in Images Depicting BP Measurement - No Wonder You’re Doing It Wrong!

Two years ago, we published a blog titled, “You’re Doing It Wrong: New Study on BP Measurement." This post came about after a group of researchers assessed BP measurement technique at a large academic health science center and their results indicated that most clinicians are - simply put - doing it wrong.

While recently attending the 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Society of Hypertension (ASH), we learned of a new study1 by Drs. Clarence and Carlene Grim. Their research assessed the accuracy of BP measurement technique in online articles that included videos or photographs of BP testing. Their study, “ Blood pressure measurement is almost never shown being done correctly in TV/print news reports, or online reports/sources regarding BP news stories, reports that the majority of online images and videos depicting BP measurement were depicting people that were doing what? You guessed it - doing it wrong.

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Guidelines Galore

ASH ISH release new GuidelinesIn previous blogs, we have talked about the publication of new guidelines related to the treatment of hypertension such as the ESH/ESC Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension (available here). At the end of 2013, two additional guidelines were published; one from the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) and the other as a result of a joint effort by the American Society of Hypertension (ISH).

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Pay-For-Performance Achieves Better Hypertension Control?

Pay-For-Performanc Achieves Better Hypertension Control?As the Affordable Care Act becomes more established here in the US, one of the many new initiatives it brings to bear is pay-for-performance. Pay-for-performance is an incentive that encourages physicians to deliver a higher quality of care, as opposed to a reimbursement model that drives more tests and procedures. While similar to the system the National Health Service (NHS) has had in the UK for several years now, there is much debate over whether this method will improve the healthcare situation in the US. One group of researchers recently tested the pay-for-performance model by using the rate of hypertension control as their quality metric.

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ABPM Could Be Exactly What The Patient Needs

ABPM Can Catch Overnight DippingThe above title is how author Craig Bowron, MD capped off his recent article “Traditional blood-pressure cuffs not that reliable.” As I was reading the article, I was pleased to see how successful the 15-physician clinic in Minneapolis had been with implementing an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) program to identify, diagnose and manage their hypertensive patients. One physician was quoted as saying “It’s been breathtaking to see how much difference there can be between office blood pressure readings and what we’ve found with ambulatory [ABP] monitoring”. The practice was able to  lower or end treatment on 13% of their patients after ABPM testing revealed that they were being over-treated. Conversely, 18% had their medication added or increased as their ABPM results showed they were under-treated.

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May 17th is World Hypertension Day

World Hypertension DayEach year, the World Hypertension League designates May 17th as World Hypertension Day. With over 1.5 billion worldwide suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure), we at SunTech Medical would like to do our share to draw attention to this single biggest risk factor for death linked to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. For more information on World Hypertension Day and tips on prevention and treatment of Hypertension, you can visit the World Hypertension League website and download the World Hypertension Day brochure today.

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World Health Organization Releases 2013 Global Brief on Hypertension

Diagnosing Hypertension

On April 7th, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated their annual World Health Day in order to draw international attention to important global health issues. Each year, the WHO highlights a different global health concern and, and we found it noteworthy that the focus of this year is controlling high blood pressure.

 

As part of their efforts, the WHO released a new publication, “A Global Brief on Hypertension” (link below), which is now available as a free download at the official WHO website. The brief describes how hypertension is contributing to the growing burden of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure and premature death and disability. The WHO authors explain how hypertension is both preventable and treatable and provides guidance on how governments, health workers, civil society, the private sector and individuals can reduce hypertension and its impact.

 

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Top 5 Blog Posts of 2012

Holiday trees illustration

As we look forward to the coming new year, we wanted to take a moment to look back at the most popular posts from this year. We'd like to wish all of our friends and followers of Blog@SunTech a Happy Holidays and safe New Year. Unless claims that the end of the world is upon us are true, we'll see you next year!

  1. You're Doing It Wrong: New Study on BP Measurement
  2. Top 7 Reasons You Should Be Using Automated Blood Pressure for Cardiac Stress Testing
  3. Determining BP Device Accuracy: Who Has It Right
  4. 5 Myths About Vital Signs Automation and EHR's
  5. 3 Things to Consider When Measuring Your BP at a Kiosk
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American Society of Hypertension Urges CDC to Use ABPM

Oscar 2 ABPM Device

Last week, we blogged on the recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that noted some pretty serious concerns about our national state of health as it relates to hypertension and its potentially deadly effects.

This week, we want to draw your attention to a press release from the American Society of Hypertension urging the CDC to incorporate ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) as a way to apply a more "sensitive and specific tool for assessing blood pressure in its national surveys."1

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Disposable Blood Pressure Cuffs a Key Part of Infection Control Strategy

Watch HAI Animated Video Now

Much has been written lately on the changing landscape of healthcare, and how many hospital executives are targeting quality, safety and infection control as a way to improve outcomes and lower costs. Of particular concern is reducing the occurrence of Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) and patient readmissions.

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Beat Down Blood Pressure Video Challenge

BP Beat Down Video Challenge With May being High Blood Pressure Awareness month, The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in partnership with Million Hearts (an HHS initiative) are holding a video challenge where folks share how they are using technology to help achieve and manage blood pressure control.

Contestants are asked to create short (<2 minutes long), compelling videos that illustrate how they are using health IT or other e-health tools to measure their BP, take their BP medications as prescribed and to maintain a healthy lifestyle that helps keep their blood pressure in control.

For more information, to submit your own video entry or to vote for your favorite, please visit:

http://bloodpressure.challenge.gov/

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You’re Doing It Wrong: New Study on BP Measurement

Taking Innacurate BP A new study1 published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension has reached the conclusion that when it comes to proper blood pressure (BP) measurement technique, most clinicians just aren’t very good at it. According to the authors, Minor et al, the purpose of the study was to “assess BP measurement accuracy and the level of adherence to recommended techniques throughout a large academic health science center.” As it turns out, the results were poor on both fronts and their statistical analysis indicates that technique does indeed impact accuracy.

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Determining BP Device Accuracy: Who Has It Right?

Bullseye Dart on a Manual StethoscopeAll caregivers need to trust the accuracy of automated blood pressure (BP) devices they use to make clinical decisions. But when considering one specific BP device versus another, how does one establish that trust? Well, an automated BP device that’s used to guide patient treatment is legally considered a medical device, and therefore must adhere to the regulatory guidelines for the markets in which it is sold.

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Has My Physician Measured My BP in Both Arms?

Doctor taking a BP measurementThat’s the question I pondered while reading an article published earlier this year in the American Journal of Hypertension. In the article “Blood Pressure Measurement Method and Inter-Arm Difference: A Meta-Analysis,"* the authors reviewed studies where BP was measured in both the left and right arm of subjects. The results showed that on average, Systolic pressures differ by 5.4 mmHg between arms while Diastolic pressures showed an average inter-arm difference of 3.6 mmHg.

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Should Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Be Required?

Dr. Henry Black discusses ABPMDr. Henry Black, former President of the American Society of Hypertension, presents this very question in his recent video on Medscape News. While Medscape requires a free login account to view their content, we felt this report rather significant and worthy of sharing.

In the video article, Dr. Black points out that the practices of how we measure blood pressure are changing as technology advances and becomes more available. He also explains that while home monitoring is becoming more commonplace, studies of ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) are telling us more about its unique prognostic benefits. 

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In-Office Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring: Could it replace traditional office BP assessment?

traditional doctors officeThat’s just the question Dr. Mark C. van der Wel and colleagues sought the answer to in an article published in the Annals of Family Medicine. As we at SunTech have mentioned in previous posts, two of the most prevalent problems with traditional in-office blood pressure assessment is improper observer technique and the white-coat effect.  As a way to overcome this, the authors developed a method of taking a series of in-office automated oscillometric blood pressure readings for 30 minutes by utilizing an ambulatory blood pressure monitor (ABPM) and compared those results with mean daytime ABPM results.

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Korotkoff Sounds vs. Oscillometric BP Measurement

sphygmomanometerOne thing we like to do at the SunTech blog is share debates and comparisons of automated vs. manual auscultatory blood pressure measurements. The latest comes from an article published in the Journal of the American Society of Hypertension earlier this year. This evaluation compared one particular automated oscillometric device with the results from the auscultatory method of listening for Korotkoff sounds during cuff deflation. The authors’ aim was to help readers better understand the fundamental differences between these two methods and illustrate how that might assist clinicians in effectively controlling and managing hypertensive patients.

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Video: Consumer Reports Tests Home BP monitors

Home BP Consumer ReportThis news video reports on a clinical evaluation of select Home BP monitors recently completed by Consumer Reports. We were not surprised to see, among their findings, that the wrist monitors evaluated were not as accurate as upper arm monitors. We were encouraged that the video seems to indicate the evaluation was administered by two observers taking auscultatory readings with a stethoscope and mercury column where those results would serve as the basis to compare the automated monitors' results. This is truly the best method for performing clinical evaluations of automated, non-invasive BP monitoring technologies.

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Man Protests Outside Drug Store Over Faulty BP Monitor

Man ProtestingWe recently came across an article reporting on a man in Grand Forks, North Dakota, who is so upset about the erroneously high readings from his new BP monitor that he spent three days protesting outside the store he purchased it from*.

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Implantable blood pressure monitors: Science fiction or reality?

blue waveformAt SunTech Medical, we’re always thinking about blood pressure (BP) and how current measurement tools and techniques might be improved. In many ways, “routine” blood pressure measurement hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years. But innovative tools like ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) have helped us learn about the importance of masked hypertension, overnight dipping, and blood pressure variability, their impact on clinical outcomes, and the subsequent guidance of hypertension treatment.

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