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Blood pressure self screening Shutterstock
Promotion and education would be beneficial to increase awareness of the benefits of self-screening and the availability of monitors...
- Alice Tompson, Research Officer

Making more blood pressure monitors available and accessible for patients in GP waiting rooms could increase the detection of high blood pressure and better enable patients being treated for high blood pressure to monitor and control their condition.

Researchers from Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences found that patients without a history of high blood pressure checked their blood pressure while waiting for a GP appointment.

Those with high blood pressure carried out self-screening to avoid the feelings they associated with ‘white coat syndrome’ and to have more control of the measurement process.

The qualitative study, involving 30 interviewees, found that patients are often unware of the availability of self-measurement and may need help with the technique. While some patients were concerned about measuring blood pressure in a public space, several preferred monitoring their blood pressure in the waiting room, rather than doing it at home. 

Commenting on the study, lead author Alice Tompson, a Research Officer in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said:

“Self-screening blood pressure in the waiting room was generally acceptable to the people we interviewed. Given the potential to increase the detection of hypertension, further promotion and education could be beneficial to increase awareness about the benefits of self-screening and the availability of monitors, subject to the confirmation of the accuracy of self-screened measurements.”

The research is published in the British Journal of General Practice and funded by the National Institute of Health Research. 

Paper reference:

Patient use of blood pressure self-screening facilities in general practice waiting rooms: a qualitative study in the UK. Tompson AC, Grant S, Greenfield SM, McManus RJ, Flemming S, Heneghan CH, Hobbs FDR, Ward AM. Br J Gen Prac 2017 doi: https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp17X690881 

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