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Connected Blood Pressure Measurement

July 20, 2016

Today's standards based Bluetooth mechanism to send a wireless BP measure is flawed by design to produce accurate BP reports for baby boomers and elderly patients... 

White shirt syndrome

The white shirt syndrome is well known and proven many times over. Some newer BP devices even have a delayed measurement so the doctor can leave the room while the measurement is taken. Others will use multiple measurements discarding the first one and providing the average of the last measured.

Remote patient monitoring (RPM)

When it comes to telehealth projects as manufacturer of remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems we need to work with the available telehealth BP devices which are all following the same Continua standards based Bluetooth communication protocol.

Bluetooth protocol

That connectivity protocol details how the BP measurement must be sent over the air for the RPM patient smartphone or tablet to capture the reading. It says that at the end of the measurement the value must be sent over the air for a few seconds.

Clinical protocol

The clinical protocol for measuring BP properly insists on the patient being relaxed. So to produce valid results for telehealth projects you would believe that the process must integrate both technical and clinical requirements together.

Flawed measurement

Yet it does not. Since it only sends a Bluetooth signal AFTER the BP measurement is taken, the elderly patient with its smartphone or tablet running their digital logbook app often get worried about the connectivity WHILE the measurement is being taken since they have no visual indicator that both the smartphone and the BP cuff are properly connected. That worry prevents them from being relaxed which distorts the validity of the BP measurement.

Simple solution

It would be so simple to send a Bluetooth signal helping to enable a fast handshake with the RPM smartphone or tablet before the measurement process starts, immediately when the patient presses the START button on the BP device. That simple signal would allow RPM manufacturers to provide an immediate feedback to the patient so rather than stressing about the connectivity they could relax and peacefully have their blood pressure taken by the device, then being captured by the RPM system for their care team to monitor.

Hope

I have asked personally so many of the largest BP device manufacturers for this in the past years and yet the method is still the same today. Recently at ATA in Minneapolis I have heard that light is coming at the end of the tunnel... Hopefully we will get such newer devices and be able to integrate BP devices in the future which will produce high quality measures by providing the proper patient experience for it.

As technology providers we must drive the patient experience forward so that they love the magical experiences we create for them in mobile, wireless form while benefitting from all the value added of the coaching that digital health enables. If not they'll stay on what they trusted for years.

As with everything in connected health, at Tactio we believe that only the technology that integrates the fundamental principles of care will provide true outcomes and prevail in the digital health future.

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