Healthcare Monitors UK provide a series of stand-up blood pressure monitors ideal for GP surgeries. Suzanne Beacom, Managing Partner of Southborough Lane Surgery in Bromley, Kent, describes how the use of the K6 Health Monitor benefited her practice
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For several years, most of our partners resisted the suggestion of one GP to install a blood pressure (BP) monitor in the waiting room. There were all sorts of objections:
- Children will play with it and break it.
- Patients won’t want to use it.
- Doctors like doing BP checks as they are easy consultations.
- Clinicians will lose the opportunity to discuss lifestyle changes with patients.
- No space. The monitors we had found on the market required a seat for the patient and we certainly did not have room for that.
It was only when I saw a K5 monitor in British Home Stores that I discovered there was a stand-up machine. We could accommodate this very close to the reception desk, so the campaign resumed. Having been given some prescribing incentive scheme money, which had to be spent in the next few months, the partners finally agreed in February 2006 to purchase the newer model, the K6.
Quality and Outcomes Framework targets certainly played a part in their decision as we are a practice of 10,700 patients with 14% on the hypertension register alone. As a personal medical services (PMS) practice, we are not required to do new patient registration checks but believed the K6 would be excellent for a preregistration check if accompanied by a completed health questionnaire and a urine sample.
It has to be said that the GPs were keener and saw more possibilities for its use than the nurses, who were concerned about losing contact with patients and were quite resistant initially. However, they were very helpful in designing the protocol for the reception staff to follow.
We have to be certain that the BP reading for each patient who uses the machine is checked before they leave the premises. Patients are required to hand in the printed results slip, which is checked by a receptionist and advice given immediately according to the protocol. The patient’s name and any advice given are recorded on the slip. All data are entered on the health promotion screen for each patient and all slips go to a nurse for review.
The machine has been a huge success for many reasons:
- We have saved hundreds of appointments, as patients do not need to see a GP or nurse for a BP check.
- We collect heath data on all new patients over 16 who register.
- We use it for contraceptive pill checks.
- Patients like to monitor their BP or their weight at a time convenient to them
- Patients attending a chronic disease monitoring clinic are asked to use it prior to seeing the nurse to save time.
- GPs ask patients to use it for routine BP monitoring.
This has been one of the best investments in equipment that we have made in the last 20 years. Our practice nurses are now great fans of the monitor and encourage their patients to use it regularly. I would highly recommend it for every GP surgery and am pleased to say that a number of Bromley practices have already taken up our recommendation. We have recently taken delivery of the latest model, M8, and are equally delighted with it.