Online intervention found useless for blood pressure control

We hear a lot about website interventions that work, but what about the ones that don't go so well? In a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, a web-based patient intervention to overcome clinical inertia on blood pressure control didn't improve outcomes.

Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa., tested the effect of the intervention, designed to help patients ask questions at the point of care to encourage primary care physicians to appropriately intensify blood pressure treatment.

Two groups were tested over 12 months--an intervention group that used a fully automated website each month to get specialized messages suggestion questions to ask PCPs, and a control group that had a similar tool suggesting questions to ask about preventative services.

Although most patients used the web-based tools to ask questions, there were no group differences in blood pressure control after 12 months between the control and test groups. The use of the website did not lead to improvements, health-wise.

The study concluded, "By providing patients with individually tailored questions to ask during PCP visits, this study demonstrated that participants were likely to discuss the questions with PCPs. These discussions did not, however, lead to improvements in blood pressure control."

Online interventions, though useful for some health conditions, don't have a spotless track record yet--research published in March determined self-managed online interventions were ineffective for diabetes patients. However, online programs have proved their usefulness for depression and anxiety interventions. Another successful online intervention? Electronic media-based health interventions, which can promote health behavior among youth populations.

To learn more:
- read the study in JMIR

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