Every 40 seconds, in the United States, an individual has a stroke. Every four minutes, a stroke takes an American’s life. As one of the leading causes of disability, cognitive impairment, and mortality in the U.S., stroke results in more than 795,000 deaths annually.1 These numbers are tragic and understate the critical importance of stroke awareness and prevention.
Risk Factors and Stroke Prevention
Some of the leading risk factors for stroke include age, family history, lifestyle factors, and ethnicity. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes are among the most common causes of stroke.2 Yet, surprisingly, many of these contributing factors that lead to stroke are avoidable with simple lifestyle changes.
In fact, evidence suggests that 80% of strokes are preventable.2 The most effective stroke prevention starts with adopting a healthier lifestyle, diet, avoiding stress, and exercising more. Other key components of stroke prevention include blood pressure control and hypertension treatment which have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of stroke.3
The Role of Remote Patient Monitoring for Blood Pressure Control, Hypertension Management and Stroke Prevention
The use of remote patient monitoring (RPM) has been proven to substantially improve blood pressure control and hypertension management, two of the leading causes of stroke.3 A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that remote monitoring combined with pharmacist management significantly lowered blood pressure for up to 24 months compared to standard care.4
Further data released from the AHA suggests that RPM may cut heart attack and stroke rates by up to 50%, compared to usual care and self-monitoring alone. Patients enrolled in the pharmacist-led telemonitoring program to control high blood pressure were about half as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to those who received routine primary care.5 Furthermore, the AHA supports initiatives that increase access to and incentivize the use of evidence-based remote patient monitoring technologies.3
In addition to improving blood pressure control and hypertension management, RPM has also been shown to address common issues that occur within the office-based setting, such as getting an accurate blood pressure reading. Research has shown that a significant number of patients experience elevated blood pressure when in a clinical setting, which can make hypertension more challenging to accurately diagnose. Inadequate measurement may also contribute to inaccurate office-based blood pressure readings. RPM addresses these challenges by providing: 6
- More frequent blood pressure monitoring over extended periods provides a more accurate assessment of a patient’s blood pressure and risk of potential cardiovascular events.
- Better access to regular blood pressure readings so providers can assess and adjust treatment as necessary.
- More timely access to the effectiveness of treatment so providers can prompt earlier changes in therapy to get blood pressure under control faster.6
Fewer Hospitalizations and Lower Care Costs
A recent cost-utility analysis published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) highlighted promising research suggesting that remote monitoring could potentially be associated with 87% fewer hospitalizations, 77% fewer deaths, and reduced per-patient costs of $11,472 over standard care and gains of 0.013 quality-adjusted life-years.7
By incorporating RPM into a patient’s preventative care strategy, providers can remotely monitor and analyze a patient’s vitals and health data in-between visits, allowing them to intervene promptly and make changes to the care plan when necessary. Clinicians can see how a patient responds to treatment and adjust prescriptions before a complication worsens or requires a costly ER visit or hospitalization.
Ultimately, patients not only feel better cared for, but they are also often more likely to adhere to their treatment plans. The result is better care, fewer adverse events and healthier patients.