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Cell Phone 'Telemonitoring' May Help Control Blood Pressure
Date:11/17/2010

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetics may soon find that assistance in controlling their blood pressure is just a cell phone screen away.

Researchers are now exploring the potential of a new mobile phone monitoring system that automatically picks up patients' home blood pressure readings, which is then sent out wirelessly via radio signals from monitoring equipment outfitted with Blue-tooth technology.

The cell phones are pre-programmed to transmit the blood pressure readings and receive appropriate feedback (which appear instantly on the cell phone screen).

Good readings may prompt a message of "Congratulations," while problematic results may trigger a message advising the patients to make a check-up appointment with their doctor. The interactive system may also instruct patients to take more readings over a specified period of time to get a more reliable overall reading.

What's more, if any two-week or three-day period exceeds a pre-set average reading threshold, the patient's doctor would be automatically notified. In addition, doctors would be able to log online to check their patient's readings.

Dr. Alexander G. Logan, from the University of Toronto, is slated to discuss the experimental monitoring system Wednesday at the American Heart Association annual meeting in Chicago.

One expert said the technology can provide a valuable service.

"Telemonitoring provides information regarding a patient's progress and condition between physician visits, and assists clinicians in identifying patients who have early symptoms of a more serious condition that, if left untreated, may require acute care, like hospitalization," explained Dr. Peter Rutherford, medical director at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center in Wenatchee, Wash.

"In the end," he said, "the patient's engagement in the program, coupled with the case manager's involvement in the patient's care and the physician's practice, is
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