Remote blood pressure monitoring to CATCH hypertension

Country South SA Medicare Local is loaning home blood pressure monitors for free to patients referred by GPs to the Country Access to Cardiac Health (CATCH) program, which aims to improve cardiac rehabilitation in patients in the area who have had a cardiac event or uncontrolled hypertension.

The CATCH program is a joint effort between the Integrated Cardiovascular Clinical Network South Australia (iCCNet), Country Health SA and Country South SA Medicare Local (CSSAML) for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and improved cardiac health through rehabilitation.

iCCnet SA clinical director Philip Tideman said patients who have had a cardiac event and are referred to the program are provided with a series of follow-up phone calls over a six-week period to help them learn how to manage their condition.

They are also offered the opportunity to participate in an ongoing monitoring program, in which they register on the CATCH website and use it to record blood pressure readings, as well as a range of self-management tools focusing on smoking cessation, healthy dietary advice, physical activity education and responsible alcohol consumption.

”Traditionally it has always been very difficult to make sure that patients who have had a cardiac event, whether it be a heart attack or a stent put in or a bypass, to ensure that they all get cardiac rehabilitation,” Dr Tideman said.

”The reason that is important is that the patient who get cardiac rehab do better in the long-term than patients who don't. That is largely to do with their compliance with their medications. So the importance of the CATCH program is really to do with the participation rates. The blood pressure monitors are just one way to help us better monitor the patients."

A suite of web-based tools was launched in August last year and allows patients to work with their GP, pharmacist and allied health providers such as dieticians and exercise physiologists. Dr Tideman said the referral to the program is always faxed to the patient's GP, and it is considered vital that the GP is engaged in the process.

The website includes tools for users to record and self-monitor specific risk factor activities such as alcohol intake, blood pressure, blood glucose, smoking, physical activity, depression, cholesterol and weight.

Records are displayed in table and graph form so users are provided with a visual picture of progress toward managing their risk factors. The graphs are equipped with recommended normal ranges and use a traffic light colour system to assist users to identify when levels are acceptable or indicate a specific risk”

The ultimate aim of the project is to ensure that every patient who has experienced a cardiac event is identified, referred to and completes cardiac rehab.

Applications for a blood pressure monitor must be made by a GP within the CSSAML region.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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