– Self-test kits: Ratings, How to choose : The Good and Not So Good

  • – Self-test kits: Ratings, How to choose – The Good and Not So Good about this reportGOOD: Consumer Reports publishes an article looking at the accuracy of blood pressure monitors, testing them against medical technicians using a mercury sphygmomanometer. Also, nice quote from an MD representing the American Heart Association about the empowering effect of self-monitoring. NOT SO GOOD: A vague recommendation that "patients home monitor" – they did not cite the AHA recommendations about frequency and duration (just twice a day, for 7 days at a time, don’t bring the monitor to work, don’t do it more than twice per day), which may lead to excess or inaccurate monitoring of the condition. I think this is reflective of the fact that the medical profession still has not bought into the value of self-monitoring, and the industry hasn’t bought into reimbursing for it. In the future, reimbursement would be in the form of clinician time to assess and manage conditions, rather than patient time to come into the office, where the readings will be less predictive of a patient’s condition anyway. It could be as simple as a slight change to a pre-existing CPT code for Ambulatory BP Monitoring, which almost no one uses, because 24-hour around the clock blood pressure monitoring is a procedure that has not been state of the art for a long time.
Ted Eytan, MD