Tech-Based Program Improves Diagnosis of Hypertension

(HealthDay News) — A technology-based program may be used to identify patients with undiagnosed hypertension in the primary care setting, according to research published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Michael K. Rakotz, MD, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues developed a technology-based strategy for the primary care setting to identify patients with undiagnosed hypertension and implement a quality improvement initiative.

In phase 1, the researchers found that an algorithm used to review electronic health records identified 1,432 patients with undiagnosed hypertension. During the 6-month period for phase 1, 475 of these patients completed a protocol for automated office blood pressure (BP) measurements.

In phase 2 of the study, a quality improvement process included regular physician feedback and office-based computer alerts to prompt evaluation of at-risk patients who had not been screened in phase 1 of the study.

Of the remaining 1,033 at-risk patients involved in phase 2 of the study, 740 patients (72%) were classified: 361 patients diagnosed with hypertension; 290 patients diagnosed with white-coat hypertension, pre-hypertension, or elevated BP; and 89 patients diagnosed with normal BP.

By the end of the follow-up period, 293 patients (28%) remained unclassified and at risk for undiagnosed hypertension.

“This technology-based screening and testing approach successfully identified patients at risk for undiagnosed hypertension and classified most patients based upon their automated office blood pressure reading,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Rakotz MK et al. Ann Fam Med. 2014;12(4):352-358.