New Scheme Enables Blood Pressure To Be Monitored From Home

Patients with high blood pressure in a number of GP practices across Forth Valley will soon be able to get their blood pressure checked without leaving the comfort of their home. Under a new scheme they will receive a text message from their local GP Practice asking for information about their blood pressure.

They can then take their own blood pressure readings and text the result. All the readings will be collated on a secure web interface which can be viewed by their GP or Practice nurse. Those behind the scheme say it feels just like sending a text message to a friend!

Crucially, if readings fall out-with certain parameters agreed in their care management plan, a text will be sent back to the patient advising them of what to do next. An alert can also be sent to clinical staff to support early intervention which can reduce the need for the patient to travel to their GP or hospital.

The system is called Florence (Flo), after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing and is a more modern and convenient way to monitor patients. Although the ‘back end’ of Flo – the computer programming needed to make it work – is complex, what the patient sees and interacts with could not be more simple and familiar, given the prevalence of mobile phones and texting.

Lesley Middlemiss, Programme Manager for Primary Care Transformation with Forth Valley’s two local Health and Social Care Partnerships, said: “Indications from other Health Board areas are that patients really like this scheme and it is working very well.  GPs and practice nurses are also enthusiastic, as taking a reading at home is much more reliable. All GP practices in Forth Valley will eventually get the opportunity to come on board.”

Practices involved initially are Bannockburn, Viewfield (Stirling) Killin, Alva, Clackmannan, Dollar, Antonine (Bonnybridge) , Carronbank (Denny)  and Viewpoint (Stenhousemuir).