April 11, 2013 | By 

Telehealth was found to have increased patient adherence to hypertension treatment, according to a study published in the April edition of the journal Telemedicine and e-Health.

Analyzing a telehealth strategy for Family Health Teams (FHTs) providing primary care services, researchers aimed to keep participants engaged in a course of hypertension treatment.

For the study, Brazilian researchers enrolled 21 professionals and 502 hypertensive patients in two family health units to their telehealth center network. Web conferences over the course of six months were offered, along with questionnaires measuring adherence to antihypertensive drugs, low salt diet, and physical activity.

Hypertension, a risk factor for diseases of the circulatory system, is the top cause of nonviolent death in Brazil, according to the study. The Family Health Strategy, created in 1994, has been emphasizing primary care, with the treatment of hypertension (HTN) one of its major practices.

“The challenge was to provide regionalized, integrated, and multidisciplinary quality healthcare that addressed primary and secondary prevention,” the study’s authors wrote.

The researchers found that participation after the seminar was significant, and identified a trend “toward a greater critical understanding of the results and targets set for the team, although at insignificant levels.” However, they concluded that telehealth suggested a “positive impact on hypertensive patients.”

Telehealth has been making its rounds in improving communication among many different types of doctors and health initiatives. For instance, a study published this month in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia found that tele-anesthesia has the potential to improve OR productivity by increasing communication among anesthesiologists. Another recently published study suggests that telepresence of a remote trauma surgeon could be useful and functional in a trauma setting, and holds the potential to address staffing shortages in rural and urban trauma care during mass casualty or disaster scenarios.

Read more: Telehealth boosts adherence to hypertension treatment – FierceHealthIT
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