Study: wireless devices improve blood pressure tracking, adherence

By: Aditi Pai | Jul 11, 2013        

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iMetrikusA study conducted by the Center for Connected Health, a division of Partners HealthCare, showed wireless mobile technologies positively impact patient engagement and can be more effective than modem-based devices. The study was published in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology in May.

In the 30 patient study, participants using Bluetooth-enabled wireless devices connected to a cellular-enabled hub recorded more frequent and a higher number of blood pressure readings than patients using modem-based devices.

Patients using wireless devices recorded on average three measurements every five days and patients using modem-based devices on average recorded one measurement every five days. When uploading data, patients with wireless-enabled devices uploaded their information on average twice every five days and those with modem-enabled devices uploaded once every 100 days. While the time it took patients to first upload their data was lower for the patients in the wireless-based device group at four days versus seven days, the time to first measurement didn’t differ much.

Founder and Director of the Center for Connected Health Joseph Kvedar, MD, said in a press release “the less obtrusive the upload process, the better the level of patient engagement,” but this increased engagement also “provides clinicians with timely data to facilitate improved patient-provider communication and more timely intervention.”

The Center offers remote monitoring programs for chronic disease self-management in diabetes, hypertension and heart failure with two types of data transfer technology — telephone modem-based devices and wireless-based devices. Of the 30 patients, drawn from three clinical practices, the median age was 61.7 years.

The data was collected after the fact, supported by a grant from the Verizon Foundation.


  • Blipcare

    in 2006, we conducted a retrospective study of 8,000 patients using the same modem based device in Dr. Kvedar’s study. We found sustained compliance rapidly dropped from 20% to about 8% after 90 days!

    About the same time, Motorola Health (now defunct) conducted a study at Partners using Bluetooth Blood Pressure monitors transmitting via cell phones. They found sustained compliance after 90 days was 17%. It was twice that of modem device but still pretty low.

    A Motorola Expert advised that for sustained compliance, users should not have do anything other than take a reading. The act of launching an App, turning bluetooth on, ensuring proximity to the smartphone or in case of modem based device connecting a cable or pressing a send button – all actions reduce sustained compliance after the novelty period has worn off.

    We found long range wireless like Zigbee or WiFi provide more user friendly solutions which can yield much higher sustained compliance of 70-75%. This is about 4X of Bluetooth and 9X of modem based devices.