Hypertension is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States. It’s estimated that nearly 80 million Americans have high blood pressure. 1 Of them, recent studies suggest that nearly half are not at goal, based on JNC 8 guidelines. 2
Many clinicians and patients use home blood pressure monitoring to help manage high blood pressure, helping with everything from medication titration to supporting lifestyle modification. With the growing connectivity of everything from light bulbs to cars, many patients are looking for connected blood pressure monitors that give them more options for tracking their health data.
The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor was one of the earliest connected devices available. Here, we’ll take a closer look at this connected BP monitor to help you figure out if it’s the right one for your patient.
Right off the bat, this is a slick looking device, keeping with the general attention to design and form that has become standard among successful digital health devices. Unlike its competitors, The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor uses a more rigid cuff structure. In other words, the part that goes around your arm is stiff cuff that you sort of “snap” onto your arm. In that way, its actually easier to get on the first time than some of the other devices I’ve tried. There’s really only one way to do it.
Once on, the device is comfortable and lightweight. When not in use, a consequence of the more rigid cuff structure is that it doesn’t pack nearly as well so it’s not quite as easy to store or travel with.
A big limitation of this device is that there’s only one cuff size available. So patients need to be careful to make sure that this cuff size is appropriate for their arm circumference.
Measuring & Tracking Blood Pressure
The first time you open the app, you’re prompted to create a profile. Subsequently, opening the app takes us first to the Timeline screen which shows us a series of daily updates on the different indicators being tracked, such as blood pressure and step count. We’ll start by walking through measuring and tracking blood pressure.
After the initial pairing, we get started by pressing a button on the monitor that connects it to your phone via Bluetooth. Reminders about proper technique and arm circumference limits, prior to a measurement are nice touches. After tapping through those reminders, we get started with our first measurement. If we want to change users, we can do that by tapping the user icon on the upper right before starting the measurement.
On the result screen, we can attach notes to each measurement such as what medications had been taken that day. We can also jump to settings by tapping the Settings icon. There are several useful features there worth noting, including the ability to set the monitor to take three measurements and report the average, consistent with available guideline recommendations.
You can also set up reminders from here for everything from taking your blood pressure to taking your medications.
Navigating back to the Timeline view, we can review our history by tapping on the Blood Pressure tile. Review options include a well done, interactive graphical display that lets you use standard touch gestures to go through the history. Tapping on the More icon on the top right brings up a range of options including the ability to manually add measurements, jump to a table view of prior measurements, and change the display options. It would be nice if customized blood pressure targets could be added by the user.