Management of cardiovascular risk factors is leaving the office: potential impact of telemedicine.
J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011 Nov;13(11):791-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2011.00534.x. Krakoff LR. From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY.
Effective control of hypertension and the other cardiovascular risk factors has been dependent on primary medical care as provided by family practitioners and internists. The progressive reduction in availability of primary care for adult populations in the United States threatens the likelihood of better control of the risk factors and potential loss of opportunity for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Recent progress has been made in the use of home blood pressure monitoring for improvement in classification of risk for hypertensive patients. Several studies establish the feasibility of home pressure monitoring combined with telemedicine for improving control of hypertension. Some studies have explored the role of self-care for adjustment of medication, as well. The potential growth of this strategy for effective control of hypertension with reduced need for face-to-face encounter time in primary care is a promising solution to the reduction in primary care providers. Management of hyperlipidemia and diabetes by telemedicine is also being explored, particularly for rural areas, but may also be effective in urban settings.
Development of technology for home monitoring together with electronic communication to providers and mechanisms for education, feedback, and warnings offers a promising solution to the possible crisis in prevention of cardiovascular disease due to the loss of traditional primary care.