Patient self-monitoring of blood pressure and self-titration of medication in primary care: The TASMINH2 trial qualitative study of health professionals' experiences
Background Self-monitoring with self-titration of antihypertensives leads to reduced blood pressure. Patients are keen on self-monitoring but little is known about healthcare professional views. Aim To explore health professionals' views and experiences of patient self-management, particularly with respect to future implementation into routine care. Design and setting Qualitative study embedded within a randomised controlled trial of healthcare professionals participating in the TASMINH2 trial of patient self-monitoring with self-titration of antihypertensives from 24 West Midlands general practices. Method Taped and transcribed semi-structured interviews with 13 GPs, two practice nurses and one healthcare assistant. Constant comparative method of analysis. Results Primary care professionals were positive about self-monitoring, but procedures for ensuring patients measured blood pressure correctly were haphazard. GPs interpreted home readings variably, with many not making adjustment for lower home blood pressure. Interviewees were satisfied with patient training and arrangements for blood pressure monitoring and self-titration of medication during the trial, but less sure about future implementation into routine care. There was evidence of a need for training of both patients and professionals for successful integration of self-management. Conclusion Health professionals wanted more patient involvement in hypertension care but needed a framework to work within. Consideration of how to train patients to measure blood pressure and how home readings become part of their care is required before self-monitoring and self-titration can be implemented widely. As home monitoring becomes more widespread, the development of patient self-management, including self-titration of medication, should follow but this may take time to achieve. © 2013 British Journal of General Practice.