Almost 50% of the adults in the United States have hypertension. Although clinical trials indicate that home blood pressure monitoring can be effective in managing hypertension, the reported results might not materialize in practice because of patient adherence problems.
The aims of this study are to characterize the adherence of Medicaid patients with hypertension to daily telemonitoring, identify the impacts of adherence reminder calls, and investigate associations with blood pressure control.
This study targeted Medicaid patients with hypertension from the state of Texas. A total of 180 days of blood pressure and pulse data in 2016-2018 from a telemonitoring company were analyzed for mean transmission rate and mean blood pressure change. The first 30 days of data were excluded because of startup effects. The protocols required the patients to transmit readings by a specified time daily. Patients not transmitting their readings received an adherence reminder call to troubleshoot problems and encourage transmission. The patients were classified into adherent and nonadherent cohorts; adherent patients were those who transmitted data on at least 80% of the days.
The mean patient age was 73.2 (SD 11.7) years. Of the 823 patients, 536 (65.1%) were women, and 660 (80.2%) were urban residents. The adherent cohort (475/823, 57.7%) had mean transmission rates of 74.9% before the adherence reminder call and 91.3% after the call, whereas the nonadherent cohort (348/823, 42.3%) had mean transmission rates of 39% and 58% before and after the call, respectively. From month 1 to month 5, the transmission rates dropped by 1.9% and 10.2% for the adherent and nonadherent cohorts, respectively. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure values improved by an average of 2.2 and 0.7 mm Hg (<i>P</i><.001 and <i>P</i>=.004), respectively, for the adherent cohort during the study period, whereas only the systolic blood pressure value improved by an average of 1.6 mm Hg (<i>P</i>=.02) for the nonadherent cohort.
Although we found that patients can achieve high levels of adherence, many experience adherence problems. Although adherence reminder calls help, they may not be sufficient. Telemonitoring lowered blood pressure, as has been observed in clinical trials. Furthermore, blood pressure control was positively associated with adherence.