Using mHealth for the management of hypertension in UK primary care: An embedded qualitative study of the TASMINH4 randomised controlled trial
Grant S., Hodgkinson J., Schwartz C., Bradburn P., Franssen M., Hobbs FDR., Jowett S., McManus RJ., Greenfield S.
Background Self-monitoring of blood pressure is common but how telemonitoring with a mobile healthcare (mHealth) solution in the management of hypertension can be implemented by patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs) is currently unclear. Aim Evaluation of facilitators and barriers to self- and telemonitoring interventions for hypertension within the Telemonitoring and Self-monitoring in Hypertension (TASMINH4) trial. Design and setting An embedded process evaluation of the TASMINH4 randomised controlled trial (RCT), in the West Midlands, in UK primary care, conducted between March 2015 and September 2016. Method A total of 40 participants comprising 23 patients were randomised to one of two arms: mHealth (self-monitoring by free text/short message service [SMS]) and self-monitoring without mHealth (self-monitoring using paper diaries). There were also15 healthcare professionals (HCPs) and two patient caregivers. Results Four key implementation priority areas concerned: acceptability of self- and telemonitoring to patients and HCPs; managing data; communication; and integrating self-monitoring into hypertension management (structured care). Structured home monitoring engaged and empowered patients to self-monitor regardless of the use of mHealth, whereas telemonitoring potentially facilitated more rapid communication between HCPs and patients. Paper-based recording integrated better into current workflows but required additional staff input. Conclusion Although telemonitoring by mHealth facilitates easier communication and convenience, the realities of current UK general practice meant that a paper-based approach to self-monitoring could be integrated into existing workflows with greater ease. Self-monitoring should be offered to all patients with hypertension. Telemonitoring appears to give additional benefits to practices over and above self-monitoring but both need to be offered to ensure generalisability.