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The Association Between Smartphone App-Based Self-monitoring of Hypertension-Related Behaviors and Reductions in High Blood Pressure: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

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BACKGROUND: Self-monitoring of behavior can support lifestyle modifications; however, we do not know whether such interventions are effective in supporting positive changes in hypertension-related health behaviors and thus in reducing blood pressure in patients treated for hypertension. OBJECTIVE: This systematic literature review evaluates the extent to which smartphone app-based self-monitoring of health behavior supports reductions in blood pressure and changes in hypertension-related behaviors. It also explores the behavioral components that might explain intervention effectiveness. METHODS: A systematic search of 7 databases was conducted in August 2021. Article screening, study and intervention coding, and data extraction were completed independently by reviewers. The search strategy was developed using keywords from previous reviews and relevant literature. Trials involving adults, published after the year 2000, and in the English language were considered for inclusion. The random-effects meta-analysis method was used to account for the distribution of the effect across the studies. RESULTS: We identified 4638 articles, of which 227 were included for full-text screening. A total of 15 randomized controlled trials were included in the review. In total, 7415 patients with hypertension were included in the meta-analysis. The results indicate that app-based behavioral self-monitoring interventions had a small but significant effect in reducing systolic blood pressure (SBP), on average, by 1.64 mmHg (95% CI 2.73-0.55, n=7301; odds ratio [OR] 1.60, 95% CI 0.74-3.42, n=114) and in improving changes in medication adherence behavior (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.78, 95% CI 0.22-1.34) compared to usual care or minimal intervention. The review found the intervention had a small effect on supporting improvements in healthy diet by changing habits related to high sodium food (SMD -0.44, 95% CI -0.79 to -0.08) and a trend, although insignificant, toward supporting smoking cessation, low alcohol consumption, and better physical activity behaviors. A subgroup analysis found that behavioral self-monitoring interventions combined with tailored advice resulted in higher and significant changes in both SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in comparison to those not providing tailored advice (SBP: -2.92 mmHg, 95% CI -3.94 to -1.90, n=3102 vs -0.72 mmHg, 95% CI -1.67 to 0.23, n=4199, χ2=9.65, P=.002; DBP: -2.05 mmHg, 95% CI -3.10 to -1.01, n=968 vs 1.54 mmHg, 95% CI -0.53 to 3.61, n=400, χ2=9.19, P=.002). CONCLUSIONS: Self-monitoring of hypertension-related behaviors via smartphone apps combined with tailored advice has a modest but potentially clinically significant effect on blood pressure reduction. Future studies could use rigorous methods to explore its effects on supporting changes in both blood pressure and hypertension-related health behaviors to inform recommendations for policy making and service provision. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42019136158;



behavior change, blood pressure, hypertension, lifestyle, mHealth, mobile app, mobile health, self-management, self-monitoring, smartphone apps, Adult, Blood Pressure, Humans, Hypertension, Life Style, Medication Adherence, Mobile Applications

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JMIR Mhealth Uhealth

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JMIR Publications Inc.
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)) (RP-PG-0615-20013)