Digital tools are needed to achieve better blood pressure control in the world’s most vulnerable areas

High blood pressure is globally the most important modifiable risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. But despite that we know much about how to reduce blood pressure and prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, we face major challenges. Only half of all people with hypertension (blodtryk≥140 / 90 mmHg) know that they have the disease, only half of the people with known hypertension received blood pressure lowering treatment, and again only half of the people who receive antihypertensive medications, reach their treatment goals. Globally, this is due primarily to three factors:

1) Lack of capacity in the health system to make opportunistic screening and initiate antihypertensive treatment and follow up if necessary due to other more visible threats to public health.

2) Lack of public pressure on the government and the health system to provide the above as hypertension often has no symptoms and therefore not visible to the population.

3) Lack of training of the available health care professionals to make opportunistic screening and initiate antihypertensive treatment and follow up if necessary. This is due to  too few doctors outside major cities and to many many different guidelines with varying subject which creates uncertainty among health professionals.

The above problems are particularly acute in low-income countries, where the prevalence of hypertension is increasing rapidly. Therefore, it is especially important to help low-income countries to make opportunistic screening and initiate antihypertensive treatment and follow up if necessary. The most cost effective way to solve these challenges is to introduce simple decision support systems, which can both educate and support non-medical health personnel to make opportunistic blood pressure screening and initiate antihypertensive treatment and follow up if necessary.

Holbaek Hospital partners with ”Heeple” because we are already working with advanced IT solutions that after minor modifications will be able to improve the management of hypertension markedly in areas with insufficient resources for health care like for example in India through better education and support of health professionals and their patients.

Associate professor Michael Hecht Olsen
Department of Internal Medicine, Holbaek Hospital
Centre of Individualized Medicine for Arterial Diseases (CIMA)
Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark
Odense, Denmark