Test monitor for accuracy
Each patient should be using a validated, automated upper arm home BP monitor. Patients should bring their monitors to your practice for testing to ensure they are properly fitted and working properly. Their home monitoring device should be tested before use as part of the SMBP program before beginning and again annually, or any time BP readings are questionable. To determine accuracy, follow this SMBP device test.
A member of your team should take five measurements—two with the office machine and three with the patient’s device. After averaging the patient device readings and the office measurements separately, if the difference is greater than 10 mm Hg, the device will need to be replaced before proceeding.
Resolve positioning errors
In a training session, have the patient show you how they are taking their BP measurement. Watch their positioning and correct any errors. Here are six tips to share with your patient for an accurate BP reading.
- Place cuff over bare arm.
- Keep legs uncrossed.
- Ensure the cuff fits properly.
- Position arm so it is supported and the cuff is at heart level.
- Sit in a chair with back supported and feet flat on the floor or on a footstool.
For further reference, share this infographic with your patients to help them get in an appropriate position before taking their BP measurement.
Emphasize two measurements twice daily
Are your patients performing BP measurements twice a day? If not, this could interfere with the accuracy of their data. The hypertension guideline recommends patients take at least two readings one-minute apart each morning before medication and each evening before dinner. Weekly readings taken two weeks after a treatment change and a week before a clinic visit are also recommended.
With the SMBP device in a quiet space where they can sit comfortably without any distraction, instruct the patient to rest for five minutes while in position before starting. After resting, they should take two or three measurements, one minute apart, and should remain relaxed and seated without moving during each reading. After completion, the patient can record their measurements.
Patients can maintain accuracy in measurement with this seven day recording log from Target: BP. This data collection log also serves as backup to their device’s memory on the BP monitor and helps them remember to take measurements each day.