By Tracy Timmerman, Senior Marketing Manager
With February being American Heart Month, it is an ideal time to think about the real impacts and importance of an accurate blood pressure (BP) reading and the proper way to take the measurement.
Of all the vital signs, BP measurement has perhaps the strongest connection to point of care diagnosis, patient risk stratification and medication dosing. These critical factors of care management are essential to precise decision-making tied to better outcomes. Because of its centrality in care and better outcomes, it is essential for BP measurement to be accurate and repeatable.
In order to properly diagnose and treat hypertension—a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke and renal failure—caregivers need to obtain accurate BP measurements, both current and trending. It is also becoming increasingly important to detect small differences in BP readings to appropriately treat patients with diabetes and renal diseases, making accurate trending data and standardized protocols critical.
Unfortunately, BP measurement continues to be one of the most inconsistently performed tests in the clinical environment. Not having a standardized protocol for measuring BP contributes to the inconsistency, and when using some methods to acquire BP readings there is increased risk of inaccuracies simply due to human variation.
To help minimize this inherit risk, Midmark has focused our fully integrated point of care ecosystem on three main areas. When combined, these three pillars of better BP can help make it easier for caregivers to take the necessary steps to ensure a more consistently accurate BP measurement process.
Patient comfort level and position of their body, including arms and legs, can significantly impact BP readings. Barrier-free power examination chairs, such as the Midmark® 626 with Patient Support Rails+, are designed to promote AMA-recommended patient positioning for blood pressure capture. They offer multi-positioning options to ensure a patient’s back is properly supported, while the arm is maintained at heart height by the accessory rails. The low chair height helps ensure a patient’s feet are firmly placed on the floor while acquiring BP readings.
Midmark is the first company to implement a Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) BP Protocol with patient positioning guidelines in a vital signs acquisition device. IQvitals® Zone™ with the SPRINT BP Protocol introduces automation at the point of care that can help ensure a higher level of standardization, minimizing human variables while maximizing consistency and data accuracy.
Introducing a new level of connectivity to the BP measurement process helps protect the quality of data by reducing the risk of human errors occurring at the keyboard. Seamless connectivity from the IQvitals Zone device to the electronic medical records (EMR) eliminates transcription errors and provides greater confidence in data accuracy. Midmark Zone technology transfers data to the EMR using a secure Bluetooth® Low Energy connection at the point of care.
With increased focus on BP measurement, the hope is that within the next few years when we celebrate American Heart Month, consistently accurate BP measurement can be listed as a healthcare industry accomplishment.
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