Patients managing their own care works. Support groups work. Telemedicine combined with self-administered home care works. At least sometimes. Bill Gardner reports on two new studies, including this one.
Margolis and her colleagues tested a program for hypertension. Patients measured their blood pressure at home and logged it using internet-mediated telemetry. The patients then received coaching based on the data.
During the first 6 months of the intervention, patients and pharmacists met every 2 weeks via telephone until BP control was sustained for 6 weeks, and then frequency was reduced to monthly. During intervention months 7 through 12, telephone visits occurred every 2 months. After 12 months, patients discontinued use of the telemonitors, returned to the care of their primary physicians, and no longer received support from a study pharmacist.
The telemonitored and coached patients lowered blood pressure significantly more than patients in usual care, including up to 6 months after the monitors were discontinued.