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Blood pressure practice and self monitoring

Qualitative interview study of 30 people over the use of validated sphygmomanometers through self screening to improve hypertension detection. 

 Exploring the patient experience of self-screening for blood pressure. Picture: iStock

Blood pressure (BP) self-screening and monitoring using easy-to-use, clinically validated automatic solid-cuff sphygmomanometers may improve early detection of hypertension and adherence to medication. Some UK general practices have these in waiting rooms to free up clinical time and meet the population coverage required in the quality outcomes framework. This qualitative interview study with 30 people explored the patient experience of using such machines and reasons why people do or do not use BP self-screening facilities. 

One fifth of the interviewees were hypertensive and almost half had self-screened. Those people without a history of elevated readings had self-screened to fill the time waiting for their appointment, or to comply with a request from the practice staff. Barriers to self-screening included a lack of knowledge, doubt about the technique, and anxiety about undertaking this in a public, rather than private, place.

Those with hypertension had self-screened to feel they had more control on the process and avoid feelings they linked to ‘white coat syndrome’. Several interviewees preferred monitoring their BP in the waiting room than at home. Waiting room monitors could provide an alternative for patients with hypertension who are unwilling or unable to monitor at home.

Tompson AC, Grant S, Greenfield SM et al (2017) Patient use of blood pressure self-screening facilities in general practice waiting rooms: a qualitative study in the UK. 67, 660. e467-e473. doi:

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