Current and potential providers of blood pressure self-screening: A mixed methods study in Oxfordshire
Tompson AC., Fleming SG., Heneghan CJ., McManus RJ., Greenfield SM., Hobbs FDR., Ward AM.
© Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited.Objectives To (1) establish the extent of opportunities for members of the public to check their own blood pressure (BP) outside of healthcare consultations (BP self-screening), (2) investigate the reasons for and against hosting such a service and (3) ascertain how BP self-screening data are used in primary care. Design A mixed methods, cross-sectional study. Setting Primary care and community locations in Oxfordshire, UK. Participants 325 sites were surveyed to identify where and in what form BP self-screening services were available. 23 semistructured interviews were then completed with current and potential hosts of BP self-screening services. Results 18/82 (22%) general practices offered BP self-screening and 68/110 (62%) pharmacies offered professional-led BP screening. There was no evidence of permanent BP self-screening activities in other community settings. Healthcare professionals, managers, community workers and leaders were interviewed. Those in primary care generally felt that practice-based BP self-screening was a beneficial activity that increased the attainment of performance targets although there was variation in its perceived usefulness for patient care. The pharmacists interviewed provided BP checking as a service to the community but were unable to develop self-screening services without a clear business plan. Among potential hosts, barriers to providing a BP self-screening service included a perceived lack of healthcare commissioner and public demand, and a weak-if any-link to their core objectives as an organisation. Conclusions BP self-screening currently occurs in a minority of general practices. Any future development of community BP self-screening programmes will require (1) public promotion and (2) careful consideration of how best to support-and reward-the community hosts who currently perceive little if any benefit.