Blood pressure monitoring smartphone app wins BMJ hack day

A smartphone app for patients to calculate blood pressure readings at home won first prize at the first ever BMJ hack day.

The app was developed by hackers Andrea Weir and Alok Matta and GP Anne Marie Cunningham and won because it was simple, cheap and time saving for GPs who normally calculate averages from numerous slips of paper. By eliminating this process the app would also reduce risk of error.

Cunningham said that the app worked by using home based monitors that cost about £15 in chemists and supermarkets, a small sum compared to £1500 ambulatory devices, and automatically calculates average readings which comply with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance. NICE recommends ambulatory or home based monitoring if a clinic blood pressure reading is 140/90 mm Hg or higher.

The app also includes a video on how and when to take blood pressure readings at home and the data can be emailed or exported in CSV files or XML. It also includes push notifications to remind patients that they need to take a reading.

In second place was a reward based game aimed at digital medical students that uses BMJ’s onExamination obstetrics and gynaecology questions.

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