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Monitoring patient wellness from a distance

More and more studies are proving telemedicine is effective in helping patients modify their lifestyle to manage health conditions.

Telephone counseling combined with home-based blood pressure monitoring can significantly improve a person's blood pressure control at minimal cost, according to a recent experiment by researchers at Duke University.

During the study, 636 people with hypertension were randomly assigned to either usual care from a primary care physician, bi-monthly calls from a nurse providing wellness tips, blood pressure monitoring at home or the phone counseling plus the at-home blood pressure monitoring.

People trained to monitor their blood pressure at home while getting regular phone calls lowered their blood pressure by 11 percent compared to a 7.6 percent decrease in blood pressure for the home monitoring group and 4.3 percent for people only getting calls.

Hayden Bosworth, PhD, lead author of the study wrote:

The phone calls with the nurse provided a forum to discuss these topics and address other questions that may not have been discussed during a regular office visit. If people are informed about the side effects associated with a given medication and know what to expect, they are more likely to continue taking their medications.

Similarly, text message were found to be an effective way of reminding young liver transplant patients to take their immunosuppressive medications, according to results of a small study recently reported online in Pediatrics.

Ongoing research by Abby King, PhD, at the Stanford Prevention Research Center has shown that computer calls can persuade even skeptical couch potatoes to go for regular walks and that specially-programmed smartphones can prod middle-aged and older Americans into increasing their physical activity levels.

Via and KevinMD

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