Web-Based Employee Self Management Program Significantly Reduces High Blood Pressure, According to Data From the Center for Connected Health

Published: Oct 25, 2012

BOSTON, OCTOBER 25, 2012 – New data from a clinical trial conducted by the Center for Connected Health demonstrated that a web-based employee self-management program helped individuals with prehypertension or hypertension achieve significantly lower blood pressure by the conclusion of the program. The study was published in the current issue of the American Heart Journal (Volume 164, Issue 4, October 2012).

The six-month controlled trial was conducted at EMC Corporation in Massachusetts. 404 employees with prehypertension or hypertension participated in the study. This web-based program enabled individuals to easily collect their blood pressure readings, monitor trends and securely share their personal data with their providers using a home blood pressure cuff and web portal.

"Our findings indicate that self-management can be an effective way to improve blood pressure control in an employee population. We believe the workplace is an excellent setting for implementing this model of disease management," said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Founder and Director, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare. "Shifting interventions from the clinic to home and workplace is an innovative and potentially effective approach to achieving increased patient involvement in and responsibility for their own care, improving quality of life and clinical outcomes, while reducing healthcare costs."

The change in diastolic blood pressure was significantly different between the intervention and control groups, although the change in systolic blood pressure was not significant. Nearly one quarter of intervention participants experienced a greater than 10mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure (22%), or a greater than 5mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure (29%) compared to the control group. Intervention participants were twice as likely to report starting a new medication and more likely to report improved communication with their doctor. Just a 5mmHg decrease in blood pressure can reduce mortality due to stroke and heart disease by 14% and 9%, respectively.

Participants randomized to the intervention group received a home blood pressure monitor, which transmitted their data to a secure, password-protected website. The website allowed participants to track their blood pressure readings over time, access educational material and receive automated, tailored messages based on their data, advice on when to seek medical care and reminders and motivational messages.

Individuals could also enter medication changes and doctors visits, and email readings to their doctor. Control group participants were given access to blood pressure monitors in the company's on-site health club. These individuals did not have access to a website, and did not receive personal messages or reminders.

"Measuring and viewing personal blood pressure readings on a more frequent basis appears to have an impact on behavior and decision-making, and creates greater awareness that can reinforce self-care activities and promote positive behavior change," added Kamal Jethwani, MD, MPH, Corporate Manager, Research and Innovation, Center for Connected Health. "This automated self-management model provides educational information and reminders as well as blood pressure readings, empowers patients and is easily implemented within the current clinical workflow. This technology platform could be tailored to different patient populations, supporting a variety of monitoring devices to include diabetes and activity monitoring."

Based on this self-management technology platform developed at the Center for Connected Health, Healthrageous, a digital health management company, was founded, offering a personalized solution to prevent and self-manage chronic health conditions. The Center's Blood Pressure Connect program is also offered to patients throughout the Partners HealthCare network, including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston.

Hypertension is a preventable cause of stroke and other cardiac complications. However, according to the American Heart Association, 76.4 million people age 20 or older in the U.S. have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

About the Center for Connected Health

The Center for Connected Health creates and validates connected health solutions that empower patients and providers to transform care. Drawing on 18 years of experience, the Center’s team of clinicians, researchers, technologists, consultants and business professionals collaborate with providers, patients, policy makers and industry to demonstrate the power of technology-enabled interventions in research studies and in “real-world” clinical and remote patient settings. The interventions designed and developed by the Center focus on creating behavior change, generating efficiencies and improving the quality of care. We are moving healthcare forward to be more proactive, population-based and patient-centered. The Center for Connected Health is a division of Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based healthcare delivery system founded by its Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching institutions, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Visit www.connected-health.org.

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