First primary care national blueprint supporting delivery of hypertension and blood pressure at home monitoring is helping to save lives

Health and care systems and providers across the UK, can now take advantage of the first primary care national blueprint, written by the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership’s Digital First Primary Care team supporting the delivery of hypertension and blood pressure at home monitoring.

It captures learning from the rollout of the national programme called ‘BP@Home’, a programme, that has distributed over 200,000 blood pressure monitors to people across the country, who have been diagnosed with uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) and who could benefit from regular checks.

Blueprints highlight important ingredients needed for sustainable health system improvements, including step-by-step guides for organisations to enable them to carry out digital transformation more quickly and cost effectively than in the past.

Cheshire and Merseyside are one of the first integrated care systems to test an approach using these monitors and digital enablers for General Practice and people across the footprint, to help to reduce the number of deaths caused by heart attacks and strokes in the region.

The blueprint provides step-by-step guides and shares learning from the local rollout of the programme, that can then be tailored by other healthcare systems and providers to suit their own local needs and requirements. Including, sharing how the local programme used digital enablers to empower patients across Cheshire and Merseyside to monitor their blood pressure levels and submit readings electronically to their General Practitioner outside of a clinical setting, and in the comfort of their own homes, in a process known as ‘remote monitoring’.

The blueprint also provides examples of the support that was provided to clinicians, to enable them to determine which patients to approach, using a locally developed tool ‘BPQI’ (co-developed by Innovation Agency NWC and British Heart Foundation in partnership with Places and practice staff).

The blueprint is also significant, because it is the first of its kind aimed at supporting improvements in primary care settings, such as in general practices and community pharmacies.

It is hoped that not only will the blueprint be used to aid digital enablers and clinicians in their roles to support the rollout of BP@Home across the country, but that the approach utilised can be replicated to support other digital programmes of work. Particularly those in primary care settings, using ‘remote monitoring’, the process of using technology to enable patients to monitor health parameters (such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels, peak expiratory flow, and pulse oximetry), whilst alerting clinicians to any deterioration in their condition.

Speaking about the development of the blueprint, Sally Deacon, Programme Lead for the Hypertension Accelerator Project, that’s part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership’s Digital First Primary Care programme, said:

“High blood pressure is a common condition that can cause cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, and many cases of dementia, if it’s not detected and monitored appropriately.

“Improving how we monitor blood pressure, presents one of the biggest opportunities to save lives, minimise the burden of disease for patients, and reduce inequalities, and that’s why my team and I are so passionate about capturing and sharing our learning from our work here in Cheshire and Merseyside.

“We recognise that as well as it being utilised to improve outcomes for patients that may suffer from hypertension, there is also significant opportunity for the blueprint to be used by other healthcare systems and providers across the country, to improve the detection and management of long-term conditions in general”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on a wide range of health outcomes and services, including those relating to the prevention, detection and management of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as high blood pressure.

Supporting general practice is one of the key strands of the recently announced NHS England and Improvement CVD Prevention Recovery Plan.

This Cheshire and Merseyside Digital First in Primary Care BP blueprint plays an important role in supporting general practice to adopt innovation that helps to deliver targeted, proactive, preventative BP care to those who need it most, and that empowers patients to manage their health conditions at home.