HealthDay News — Automated weekly telephone calls for six weeks correlate with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) for patients with hypertension in low-to-middle income countries, study results suggest.

John D. Piette, PhD, of the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System in Michigan, and colleagues conducted a six-week randomized study involving 181 patients with high SBP, defined as ≥140 mm Hg for individuals without diabetes and ≥130 mm Hg for patients with diabetes, to evaluate the efficacy of a cloud computing model using automated self-management telephone calls and a home BP monitor. The findings were published in Telemedicine and e-Health.

Patients from Honduras and Mexico, many of whom (117) had low literacy or high hypertension information needs, were randomly allocated to receive the weekly automated monitoring and behavior change telephone calls sent from a server in the United States, plus a home BP monitor (intervention), or usual health care after receiving BP results and hypertension information (control).

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After six weeks, the researchers found that the SBP in the telephone intervention group decreased significantly, by 4.2 mm Hg, relative to controls. In the subgroup of patients with higher information needs, the average SBP reduction was 8.8 mm Hg.

Patients who received the intervention also reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms and medication problems, as well as better general health and greater satisfaction with care, compared with controls.

“Automated telephone care management plus home BP monitors can improve outcomes for hypertensive patients in low-to-middle income countries,” the researchers wrote. “A cloud computing model within regional telecommunication centers could make these services available in areas with limited infrastructure for patient-focused informatics support.”


  1. Piette JD et al. Telemedicine and e-Health. 2012; 18(8): 613-620. doi:10.1089/tmj.2011.0271.