A three-year-long study involving nearly 28,000 adults has shown that a smartphone app and a connected monitor were able to help them significantly lower their blood pressure.
The program, named Hello Heart, lets people track their blood pressure, weight, and physical activity and offers tips on how to manage blood pressure. The program includes a blood pressure monitor that automatically sends readings directly to an app. The app monitors trends and automatically gives users strategies to improve their blood pressure with things like diet and exercise.
According to the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open, after one year of the program, over 85 percent of people with stage 2 hypertension had reductions in their systolic pressure, which stayed at lower levels over the course of three years. Most participants achieved and maintained lower blood pressure during a follow-up period that lasted as long as three years.
“This is the first peer-reviewed, published study reporting the long-term experience of a digital health application for blood pressure management, with a magnitude of association that is clinically meaningful,” said Ms. Alexis Beatty, MD, MAS, a cardiologist and associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and the lead author of the study.
During the study, it was found that the Hello Heart app was effective for people with less serious conditions: around half of the people with elevated blood pressure had reductions after a year, as did around 70 percent of people with stage one hypertension. People who signed into the app more frequently saw greater impacts and tended to have lower blood pressure.
This cohort study enrolled US adults with elevated blood pressure or hypertension. The hypertension self-management program was provided through the participant’s (or their spouse’s) employer health plan.
The findings suggest that a mobile technology hypertension self-management program can support long-term blood pressure control and very high blood pressure detection. Such programs may improve real-world BP monitoring and control, said the researchers.
Future studies should examine the efficacy and dissemination of mobile technology-facilitated BP self-management interventions and their real-world effectiveness in other settings and populations as well as deeper investigations into the mechanisms that drive their effects on BP control, the researchers recommended.