The novel patient initiatives were part of a big eight-year program from Kaiser, involving more than 300,000 patients with high blood pressure, or hypertension. At the beginning, less than half had brought their blood pressure under control. That increased to a remarkable 80 percent, well above the national average, the researchers said. The research involved patients who were part of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, a network of 21 hospitals and 73 doctors’ offices, which makes coordinating treatment easier than in independent physicians’ offices.
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Blood pressure improvements seen with no co-pays, easier-to-use pills, researchers report Pressure relief
The registry grew, and by 2009, the portion under control reached 80 percent of 353,000 patients. That compares to 64 percent of people with blood pressure problems nationwide. Two features likely played a big role in the programs success: In 2005, the region started using a single generic pill combining two common blood pressure drugs, lisinopril and a diuretic. The pill is less expensive than taking the two medicines separately, and easier to use. And in 2007, the program began offering free follow-up visits with medical assistants, rather than doctors, checking blood pressure readings. Besides charging no insurance co-payment, these brief visits were available at more flexible times, increasing chances that patients would stick with the program.
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Home blood pressure monitoring may improve control
They also reported feeling more confident about being able to take care of themselves and made changes such as adding less salt to their food. “It’s kind of creating a feedback loop where the patient is measuring their blood pressure and forwarding that information to the healthcare team, and the healthcare team is able to interpret that information and feed back information to the patient about how they can achieve better blood pressure control,” Margolis told Reuters Health. The remaining questions, Uhlig said, are if blood pressure reductions will be maintained years down the line, and if people who had the intervention will go on to develop fewer heart conditions. The intervention would cost about $1,350 per patient to implement outside of a study, the researchers calculated. Margolis said they are planning to continue to follow the patients in this study and perform a more formal cost effectiveness analysis after a few years.
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Manage and monitor your blood pressure at home
UQ’s Professor Michael Stowasser and Associate Professor James Sharman will present self-empowerment strategies for measuring and managing blood pressure at home. Associate Professor Sharman said incorrect diagnosis or treatment could result, even when blood pressure is measured by a doctor. The biggest concern is when people have white coat hypertension’, Associate Professor Sharman said. This happens when the patient feels anxious about the doctor taking the measurement, causing blood pressure to become elevated from the anxiety, not the underlying condition. Home blood pressure measurement can help fix this situation, as readings at home are more representative of an individual’s true underlying blood pressure. Speakers will focus on: The importance of blood pressure and how to improve it through lifestyle choices The latest information on blood pressure measurement The problems associated with measuring blood pressure in the clinic (especially white coat hypertension) Why home blood pressure measurement is a good option Breaking down the barriers to best blood pressure management Attendees will also be given an update on the Princess Alexandra Hospital’s latest research on blood pressure and the opportunity to participate in a new study. The presentation will be held at Greenslopes Private Hospital on Thursday 29 August at 7pm and is cohosted by the Queensland Hypertension Association.
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