Thursday, March 21, 2013

Do you know what your blood pressure reading is?

I have participated in a Twitter chat about tracking your health information. Pew Research colleagues posted detailed demographic tables for the “Tracking for Health” study, see also: Susannah Fox.
US data shows that about 50% of people keep records of some sort of their test results.

CHAP volunteers
I ran blood pressure clinics in Muskoka. The program had run for two years. I was hired to run it the second year, using volunteers to do the measurement of our participants. The participants could then input data into the CHAP  website.

The result of this two-year project was that 95% of the people who came into my clinics knew their BP data by heart, and either had a BP machine at home, or had it taken it on a regular basis.

Obviously, there are differences for  vs. Americans. Our Canadian
CHAP
system is not based on co-pays, or proving you deserve to have health insurance coverage for a particular issue. It is in the interests of Canadian medicare to encourage citizens to prevent ill-health, and to encourage us to track our data. Our provincial government is trying to push physicians into joining Family Healthcare Teams, which provide support staff such as Nurse Practitioners, RNs, dietitians, social workers, to patients to help them take responsibility for their own healthcare and lifestyle issues.

Our physicians keep meticulous computerized records, and can bring up our files instantly. We visit the doctor's office and the nurse does a pre-interview, taking our Blood Pressure (BP), and determining the nature of our visit.
This machine takes 5 readings and averages them out.

That said, I always counsel clients to keep track of their tests, including BP results. They can ask for photocopies to take with them when they visit specialists, this ensures that they have the results on hand.

By the year 2015, almost half of all women in Canada will be aged 45 years or over, which means a large contingent will be in the heart-disease- and stroke-prone years.

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