Visual Learning: Displaying the Data for Hypertension Management
A clinical decision support tool helps patients and physicians use at-home measured blood pressure data to better understand hypertension control and inform shared treatment decisions.
Keeping blood pressure under control
About half of American adults are diagnosed with hypertension, and many take medications to lower blood pressure. Prescribed medication is effective, but many patients struggle to keep their blood pressure controlled. At-home blood pressure monitoring is a common solution to better capture a patient’s blood pressure outside of the clinical setting, but the measurements do not always improve the clinician’s understanding of the patient’s control. Dr. Richelle Koopman, the Vice Chair of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Missouri and a practicing physician, saw an opportunity to integrate at-home readings into a clinician’s workflow to inform shared treatment decisions.
Between the April 2018 soft launch of the new home blood pressure portal entry screen and February 2020, over 1,000 unique patients uploaded over 15,000 home blood pressure data pairs using the new tool.
Sharing the data from home
Dr. Koopman and her team developed a CDS tool to send at-home blood pressure measurements to the clinician’s EHR and provide instantaneous data visualization. The user-centered design of the tool was crafted to be accessible to patients in a simple and comprehensible way, allowing for shared decision making among the patient and clinician on next steps for hypertension management and medication timelines.
“We are trying to improve blood pressure by getting home blood pressure data to the physicians in their electronic workflow in a form that they could use it, getting the right information to the right people in the right places at the right times and in the right manners.”
- Dr. Richelle Koopman
Integrating and visualizing data
The research team recorded and analyzed 89 hypertension patient visits to understand how data visualization sent to a clinician’s EHR supported hypertension care decision making compared with paperrecorded measurements. Integrated data visualization proved to offer more meaning about hypertension for patients, while also cognitively connecting medication changes to blood pressure trends. The direct integration of home blood pressure into clinical workflow proved to show greater patient engagement in hypertension management decisions.