Study Finds Telehealth Equal To In-Clinic Hypertension Treatment

A new study published in the American Heart Association journal has discovered that pharmacists’ use of telehealth care is a viable alternative to clinic-based care for monitoring and treating high blood pressure. The number of studies comparing physical and virtual healthcare has increased during the previous few years. This study examined how individuals responded to different types of high blood pressure treatments in different environments. While heart experts are aware that high blood pressure is a significant modifiable risk factor for deaths related to deaths, there is little research on treatments to manage the condition, commonly known as hypertension. 

In the recent study, researchers compared two different approaches to treating moderately severe, uncontrolled high blood pressure: conventional clinic-based care, which involves in-person consultations with physicians and medical assistants, and telehealth care, which involves home blood pressure telemonitoring and home-based care coordinated over the phone by a pharmacist or, in some cases, a nurse. In a randomized experiment comprising 21 primary care clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin, 3,071 participants with an average age of 60 participated in the study.

Participants’ average blood pressure at the start of the trial was 158/92, considerably higher above the threshold for high blood pressure (130/80). Both strategies worked well to reduce blood pressure, according to researchers. On average, the two methods reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by about 18 and 10 mmHg, respectively. The researchers also discovered that there was no discernible difference in the two groups’ blood pressure over time. Furthermore, researchers found that telehealth patients reported higher levels of treatment satisfaction. However, a poor rate of uptake resulted in several restrictions. Only 30 percent of the patients finished the telehealth consultations in total.

“We really need future research to see how telehealth can be made more sustainable and equitable so it can reach a broader percentage of the population”, stated NYU’s Antoinette Schoenthaler in the study’s press release. “It’s an important study, and it’s really encouraging to find that you can get as good or even better care via telehealth and pharmacists.” She continues, “Telephone calls give us the option for more in-depth conversations with members of the health care team who are trained in things like lifestyle counseling, which a busy primary care provider often doesn’t have time for.”