Self-monitoring to be rolled out across Scotland for people with high blood pressure
Blood pressure monitor - Image credit: British Heart Foundation
People in Scotland with high blood pressure will soon be able to keep a check on it without the need to go to a doctor.
Technology that allows patients to monitor their own blood pressure at home and report the results to their doctor is about to be rolled out across Scotland.
The Scale-Up BP initiative has been trialled at more than 150 GP practices throughout Scotland, with more than 10,000 patients taking part to date.
It will now be extended to other parts of Scotland over the next two years, funded by £1.2m from the Scottish Government.
The system works by patients measuring their own blood pressure and texting the results to an app called Florence.
Their GP or practice nurse is then able to monitor the readings and arrange a face-to-face appointment if it is needed.
The benefits are that it reduces the need for GP visits and can help to deliver more accurate readings by taking them regularly over a period of time in a relaxed setting.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman saw the technology in use on a visit to the Hunter Health Centre in East Kilbride, one of the surgeries that has been trialling the technology.
She said: “This technology brings significant benefits to patients.
“It enables them to have more control over how they manage their condition, and greatly cuts down on the number of appointments they have to attend.
“Another benefit is more accurate readings, because we know that some patients experience anxiety when attending appointments, which can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.
“By investing in improved technology across health and social care, we can improve patients’ experience and outcomes, and free up capacity in the system at the same time.”
Morag Hearty, NHS Lanarkshire telehealth manager and national strategic lead for home and mobile health monitoring, added: “Home monitoring is a vital component of the transformation of health and care delivery.
“It can support people to feel safe and more confident in their everyday life, as well as making sure people are independent where possible.”
Julie Chambers, a patient from East Kilbride who has benefitted from the technology, explained how it had worked for her.
She said: “When I discovered I had high blood pressure, it was concerning.
“However, the prospect of having to go to a doctor’s surgery or clinic to get it regularly checked was enough to raise my blood pressure even higher!
“Between work and family I lead a very busy lifestyle.
“Being offered the use of Florence was a brilliant alternative – and I think the hassle free-nature of it, without having to commute and take time out of a busy day, probably gave a truer reflection of my day-to-day readings.”