Using web-based training to improve accuracy of blood pressure measurement among health care professionals: A randomized trial


Aurora Research Institute


Accurate blood pressure measurement is crucial for proper screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of high blood pressure. However, providers are not aware of proper blood pressure measurement skills, do not master all the appropriate skills, or miss key steps in the process, leading to inconsistent or inaccurate readings. Training in blood pressure measurement for most providers is usually limited to a one-time brief demonstration during professional education coursework. The American Medical Association and the American Heart Association developed a 30-minute e-Learning module designed to refresh and improve existing blood pressure measurement knowledge and clinical skills among practicing providers. One hundred seventy-seven practicing providers, which included medical assistants, nurses, advanced practice providers, and physicians, participated in a multi-site randomized educational study designed to assess the effect of this e-Learning module on blood pressure measurement knowledge and skills. Participants were randomized 1:1 to either the intervention or control group. The intervention group followed a pre-post assessment approach, and the control group followed a test-retest approach. The initial assessment showed that participants in both the intervention and control groups correctly performed less than half of the 14 skills considered necessary to obtain an accurate blood pressure measurement (mean scores 5.5 and 5.9, respectively). Following the e-Learning module, the intervention group performed on average of 3.4 more skills correctly vs 1.4 in the control group (P < .01). Our findings reinforce existing evidence that errors in provider blood pressure measurements are highly prevalent and provide novel evidence that refresher training improves measurement accuracy.

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