A hypertension project being run by a number of GP practices in Slough has seen a 30% increase in patients with controlled blood pressure after introducing a new digital technology programme.

The new digitally-led approach is being used to identify, diagnose and manage patients with hypertension. It uses a combination of technology that helps to identify patients in need of support, obtain blood pressure readings, communicate with patients, provide treatment and support and monitor the success of the programme.

Dr Bharan Kumar, GP at Bharani Medical Centre in Slough, developed and deployed the project, working in collaboration with the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System (ICS). Graphnet Health’s population health solution, CareCentric, was used for data-driven insights to support the creation of patient lists. The same tool was then also used to track the impact of the project.

Dr Kumar said: “We wanted to develop a simple, more timely, cost-effective, efficient and sustainable model that would benefit the patients most in need of our help, and the use of data and technology has enabled us to do that.

“Patients can easily submit readings from home using blood pressure monitors, which are reviewed by a clinician. If results are normal, they are added to their records, and no further action is needed, reducing face-to-face appointments, and avoiding inconvenience for the patient.

“Those with higher readings are contacted again via text message to upload more readings, with medications then adjusted if needed to improve control.”

Since the project was implemented in December 2021, Bahrani Medical Centre has seen a 15% increase in patients aged 79 and under with controlled blood pressure, and a 15% improvement in those aged 80 and over.

In addition, a second surgery in Slough, Ragstone Road Surgery, recorded a 30% increase in patients aged 79 and under with controlled blood pressure and a 23% increase for patients aged over 80.

The benefits also extended beyond the patients. Surgery staff benefitted from a 75% reduction in administrative time, as a result of cutting the time spent contacting hypertension patients to book blood pressure reviews from 20 hours per month to just four hours.

The Slough hypertension project recently received national recognition in the HSJ Digital Awards. It is now hoped the project will be rolled out on a wider basis so more patients and GP surgeries can benefit.

Last month, the Frimley Health and Care ICS rolled out a remote monitoring programme to reduce hospital admissions, using technology from Graphnet Health.