HealthDay News — Health care professionals (HCPs) should receive consistent and frequent training in measuring blood pressure (BP), according to a report prepared for the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association and released Nov. 18.

Telephone interviews were conducted among 32 US HCPs who work at a primary care location providing blood pressure measurement services to patients. Based on emerging themes, an internet survey was conducted among 200 medical assistants, 300 physician assistants, 750 nurse practitioners/registered nurses, 750 primary care physicians, and 302 pharmacists.

According to the report, most HCPs take BP sometimes. Compared with other HCP groups, medical assistants and nurses were more confident in their BP measurement skills. HCPs acknowledge that many things impact BP accuracy, with most attributing inaccurate readings to human factors, including method or procedural errors by the person taking BP. Another major human factor affecting accuracy was general issues with staff, including poor technique or lack of training. BP refresher training seems not to be a priority, with training performed infrequently or not required. Among HCPs, half of the physicians and physician assistants who responded, a third of nurse respondents, and a quarter of medical assistants reported not receiving BP measurement refresher training. There was broad support that BP refresher training should be required for all primary care clinicians. In addition, broad interest in the BP training module was expressed.

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“Both the American Medical Association and American Heart Association strongly support refresher training for health care professionals as a critical component to providing the highest quality of care and patient safety,” Robert Harrington, MD, president of the American Heart Association, said in a statement.

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