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Bowen ME, Bosworth HB, Roumie CL. Blood pressure control in a hypertension telemedicine intervention: does distance to primary care matter? Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.). 2013 Oct 1; 15(10):723-30.
Although telemedicine may help overcome geographic access barriers, it is unknown whether rural patients receive greater benefits. In a secondary analysis of 503 veterans participating in a hypertension telemedicine study, the authors hypothesized that patients with greater travel distances would have greater improvements in 18-month systolic blood pressure (SBP). Patients were categorized by telemedicine exposure and travel distance to primary care, derived from zip codes. Comparisons were (1) usual care (UC), distance < 30 miles (reference); (2) UC, distance 30 miles; (3) telemedicine, distance < 30 miles; (4) telemedicine, distance 30 miles. Compared with patients receiving UC, distance < 30 miles (intercept = 127.7), no difference in 18-month SBP was observed in patients receiving UC, distance 30 miles (0.13 mm Hg, 95% confidence interval [-6.6 to 6.8]); telemedicine, distance < 30 miles (-1.1 mm Hg [-7.3 to 5.2]); telemedicine, distance 30 miles (-0.80 mm Hg [-6.6 to 5.1]). Although telemedicine may help overcome geographic access barriers, additional studies are needed to identify patients most likely to benefit.