News

GP waiting rooms let patients check their own blood pressure

Providing blood pressure monitors in GP waiting rooms could encourage patients use them while waiting to see the doctor, study finds.
Blood pressure

Providing blood pressure monitors in GP waiting rooms could encourage patients use them while waiting to see the doctor, study finds

A self-service blood pressure monitor. Picture: Alamy

Having self-service blood pressure monitors in GP waiting rooms could see patients use the devices to pass the time before their appointment, a small study has found. Even people with no history of high blood pressure used the devices simply because they were available, researchers said. Some blood pressure monitors do not require fitting by a healthcare professional and can be used by the public without training or supervision. It has been suggested the availability of self-screening could help discover undiagnosed high blood pressure. The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, involved interviews with 30 people in Oxfordshire whose GP practice waiting room had a blood pressure monitoring system. Half of them had used the devices.

Providing blood pressure monitors in GP waiting rooms could encourage patients use them while waiting to see the doctor, study finds


A self-service blood pressure monitor.
Picture: Alamy

Having self-service blood pressure monitors in GP waiting rooms could see patients use the devices to pass the time before their appointment, a small study has found.
Even people with no history of high blood pressure used the devices simply because they were available, researchers said.
Some blood pressure monitors do not require fitting by a healthcare professional and can be used by the public without training or supervision.
It has been suggested the availability of self-screening could help discover undiagnosed high blood pressure.
The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, involved interviews with 30 people in Oxfordshire whose GP practice waiting room had a blood pressure monitoring system. Half of them had used the devices.

Decision made lightly

Even patients with no history of high blood pressure checked themselves to fill the time while waiting for their appointment, or to help a doctor, the study found.
'For those with no history of hypertension, the decision to check their blood pressure was made lightly, with little consideration of their susceptibility or any potential consequences,' the authors wrote.
'They self-screened to fill the time waiting for their appointment and to confirm their normotensive status.'
They found that several patients with high blood pressure preferred monitoring themselves in the waiting room rather than doing it at home.
But the study found that patients often do not know about the availability of self-measurement.

Worth exploring

The authors said: 'The process of self-screening in the waiting room was generally well-liked by service users. It is not currently accessed by all eligible patients, however, because of a lack of awareness about its existence or the perceived stigma of being seen (attempting) to measure blood pressure.'
They said the results suggested that general practices with blood pressure monitors in their waiting room might wish to consider how to promote their presence to patients who rarely attend primary care and only infrequently have their blood pressure measured.
Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: 'This is certainly an idea worth exploring, particularly at a time when general practice is under intense resource and workforce pressures, but ultimately it needs to be the decision of the individual patient and their GP as to whether they want to take their own blood pressure ahead of a consultation, or not.'


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs