Introduction: Information technology could play a crucial role in enhancing hypertension self-care and reduction of stroke risk, but, little is known of the role and impact of access and use of information technology on blood pressure (BP) control in older adults.
Hypothesis: Access and use of information technologies will be associated with increased adherence to self-care activities and BP control in hypertensive older adults?
Methods: In this cross-sectional, descriptive study, a total of 151 participants completed a survey to assess hypertension self-care activities, technology utilization, and BP knowledge. Clinical measures were obtained by trained assistants (height, weight and BP). Three BP measurements were obtained at 60-second intervals after resting for 5 minutes. A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was used to assess the relationship between information technologies and self-care activities.
Results: The mean age of participants was 75 years. Participants were predominantly women (61.7%), retired (78.1%), owned cellphones (76.5%), but most did not have internet access at home (59.7%). In bivariate analyses, having a cellphone was positively associated with Diastolic BP (DBP) (r = .20, p < .05), and a preference for receiving text or email reminders (r = .22, p < .05). Computer use was significantly associated with DBP (r = .17, p < .05), BP knowledge (r = .17, p < .05), seeking health information online (r =.49, p < .01), and belief that internet can be helpful to manage BP (r =.45, p < .01). Internet use was significantly associated with DBP (r = .17, p < .05) and BP knowledge (r = .16, p < .05).
Conclusion: The use of electronic technology was significantly correlated with lower BP and better BP knowledge. Internet-based hypertension self-care interventions could promote patient involvement and patient centered-care leading to better adherence and BP control to reduce the risk for stroke. Electronic technologies may facilitate clinical data transmission and communication between patients and providers so providers can modify treatment regimens between visits. However, our results suggest that the lack of internet access could limit the feasibility of internet-based interventions to reduce blood pressure in this population.