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Monitoring blood pressure without putting your practice under pressure!

Christmas shopping, family get-togethers, potential lockdowns, the continuing pandemic, let’s face it there is a lot about winter that can cause high blood pressure! An overindulgent Christmas has also been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels. According to a study conducted last year, cholesterol levels were 20 percent higher after the holiday season. This is attributable to the increased consumption of fatty foods, as well as the fact that cold and wet weather discourages individuals from exercising.

What factors contribute to high blood pressure?

Although the exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown, there are various variables that raise the risk, including:

- Smoking

- Exercising insufficiently

- Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, coffee, or other caffeine-containing beverages

- Excessive salt consumption and a lack of fruits and vegetables

- Not getting enough sleep or obtaining poor quality sleep

- Having a blood pressure problem in a close relative

- Being over the age of 65

- Being of black African or Caribbean ancestry.

What are the signs and symptoms of hypertension?

Because the signs of high blood pressure are rarely obvious, you could be suffering from it without even realising it. Only having your blood pressure monitored can tell you if you have high blood pressure. When your blood pressure is high, your heart, blood vessels, and other organs in your body are put under additional strain. This can develop into potentially fatal problems like heart disease, heart failure, strokes, kidney disease, aortic aneurysms, and more if left untreated.

With GP surgeries already pushed and preparing for the winter surges, the monitoring of blood pressure for all patients may just be a step too far, which is why many are opting to advise at-risk patients to join the at-home monitoring programme. However, this isn’t suitable for all. Trial data suggests that, after training and as part of an ongoing management plan, self-monitoring leads to clinically significant reductions in blood pressure and improved medication adherence, but there is a down-side as patients need clinician support and education regarding how to interpret results and when to seek assistance, putting pressure on GP’s. The accuracy of unsupervised measurements may also be an issue if patients are taking readings on potentially uncalibrated monitors!

However, as raised blood pressure is typically asymptomatic, screening is necessary to detect those requiring a formal diagnostic process for hypertension and subsequently provide them with effective management. In the UK, BP screening has typically been carried out by clinicians in an ad hoc manner, monitoring patients who may be presenting for other reasons. The introduction of the NHS Health Check in 2008 has further incentivised screening of all adults aged 40 to 74 years, providing the opportunity to capture those who do not require or request routine medical care, and would be missed by opportunistic screening. Self-screening health kiosks bring blood pressure screening out of the consultation room into the waiting room! Patients can use our kiosks without any assistance from staff, and results will be reliably recorded and detailed in their medical records, as well as alerting the GP if results breach set parameters.

“We have a lot of patients which require BP readings for various QOF indicators and having the kiosks allows us to invite patients via text to use the kiosks to record BPs. This saves the patient time and frees up appointments for other patients. It also reduces the burden on the contact centre as patients don’t need to phone ahead to make the appointment.”

- Glenn Allen, Business Manager,

The Portsdown Group Practice

The EK Health Kiosk can take the strain of routine monitoring and simultaneously contribute to QOF point collection - allowing more face-to-face appointment time for high-risk patients.

The EK Health Kiosk can help GPs to meet their QOF targets by allowing patients to take vital signs checks and answer health questions at a time convenient to them. The data is integrated directly into the patient record via SNOMED coding with alerts sent to the GP if parameters are breached.

Each EK Health Kiosk comes with full installation and support and is fully GDPR compliant. They are easily cleaned and require no clinician intervention to record data; let our kiosks help you to meet your QOF targets.

To find out more about the EK Health Kiosk and what benefits it can bring to your practice for 2022, get in touch with us on 01223 812737 or, we’d be happy to discuss this with you and arrange a free, no obligation demo in the New Year.

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