Home blood pressure monitoring
What is home blood pressure monitoring?
In England, there are over eight million people diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure).
A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if someone’s blood pressure is too high or too low. Blood pressure tests can be carried out at a number of places, including at home – using a patient’s own digital blood pressure monitor, a local pharmacy and GP practice, at an NHS Health Check appointment (offered to adults in England aged 40-74), or even in some opticians and supermarkets.
Home blood pressure monitoring enables patients with hypertension to measure and share their blood pressure readings with their GP from their home.
There are a variety of low-cost blood pressure monitors available that patients can buy to use at home. If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK. To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS). There are a number of places you can purchase a blood pressure monitor including the British Heart Foundation online shop.
Home blood pressure monitoring has been identified as a priority for cardiovascular disease management as the NHS recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that patients can manage their hypertension well and remotely, reducing the need to attend GP appointments.
What are the benefits?
There is a substantial evidence base supporting the use of home blood pressure monitoring. It has been shown to:
- give a better reflection of blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a GP surgery can make patients feel anxious and can affect the result
- allow patients to monitor their condition more easily in the long term
- reduce the incidence of clinical events such as death, heart attack or stroke, over five years
- save GP time by shifting care from doctors to other members of the multidisciplinary team
- be cost effective.
Regular home blood pressure monitoring across a population of 50,000 patients could prevent up to 500 heart attacks and 745 strokes over five years. This video produced UCLPartners describes the benefits of remote monitoring blood pressure.
What is NHS England doing to help?
Since October 2020, over 220,000 blood pressure monitors have been distributed around England so that patients can record their blood pressure and send their readings to their GP practice to review, by telephone, email or via a remote monitoring platform.
In addition, those who already own a blood pressure monitor can discuss with their GP how to monitor their blood pressure at home.
This work, called Blood Pressure @home, forms one part of a range of initiatives being developed by the NHS to transform health and care services so that people are supported to keep well, recover and manage their health and wellbeing at home.
What support is available for NHS staff?
The Blood Pressure @home programme FutureNHS workspace (platform requires users to register and log in) has a number of resources to support NHS staff to implement home blood pressure monitoring in their local area, such as:
- Standard Operating Procedure
- Implementation guidance pack
- Webinars and staff training videos
- Patient identification tools
- Patient leaflets and videos
- Digital solution showcases
- GP resources and guidance
- Case studies
The Personalised Care Institute equips health and care professionals to deliver universal personalised care that takes into account an individual’s strengths, needs and expectations, in order to deliver the right care for them.
Alternatively, the British and Irish Hypertension Society have resources for healthcare professionals.
What support is available for patients?
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has a wide range of tools and information available to support patients learn about their high blood pressure. These resources can be found on their Manage your blood pressure at home hub, which was created to help measure and manage blood pressure at home during the pandemic.
- NHS UK: Blood pressure test – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Blood Pressure UK: How to measure your blood pressure at home
- Stroke Association: Risks of high blood pressure
- Diabetes UK : Diabetes and blood pressure | Diabetes UK