University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Patient use of blood pressure self-screening facilities in general practice waiting rooms: a qualitative study in the UK

Tompson, A.C., Grant, Sabrina ORCID:, Greenfield, S.M., McManus, R.J., Fleming, S., Heneghan, C.J., Hobbs, F.D.R. and Ward, A.M. (2017) Patient use of blood pressure self-screening facilities in general practice waiting rooms: a qualitative study in the UK. British Journal of General Practice, 67 (660). e467-e473. ISSN Print: 0960-1643 Online: 1478-5243

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Background Blood pressure (BP) self-screening, whereby members of the public have access to BP monitoring equipment outside of healthcare consultations, may increase the detection and treatment of hypertension. Currently in the UK such opportunities are largely confined to GP waiting rooms.Aim To investigate the reasons why people do or do not use BP self-screening facilities.Design and setting A cross-sectional, qualitative study in Oxfordshire, UK.Method Semi-structured interviews with members of the general public recruited using posters in GP surgeries and community locations were recorded, transcribed, and coded thematically.Results Of the 30 interviewees, 20% were hypertensive and almost half had self-screened. Those with no history of elevated readings had limited concern over their BP: self-screening filled the time waiting for their appointment or was done to help their doctor. Patients with hypertension self-screened to avoid the feelings they associated with ‘white coat syndrome’ and to introduce more control into the measurement process. Barriers to self-screening included a lack of awareness, uncertainty about technique, and worries over measuring BP in a public place. An unanticipated finding was that several interviewees preferred monitoring their BP in the waiting room than at home.Conclusion BP self-screening appeared acceptable to service users. Further promotion and education could increase awareness among non-users of the need for BP screening, the existence of self-screening facilities, and its ease of use. Waiting room monitors could provide an alternative for patients with hypertension who are unwilling or unable to monitor at home.

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© British Journal of General Practice 2017
This is an OpenAccess article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: hypertension, primary health care, qualitative research, screening, self-care, self-monitoring
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Nursing and Midwifery
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Copyright Info: Open access article
Depositing User: Sabrina Grant
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2019 15:13
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2020 08:35

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