The Importance of Accurate, Consistent BP Measurement

Of all the vital signs, blood pressure (BP) measurement has perhaps the most clinically significant connection to point-of-care diagnosis, patient risk stratification, and proper medication dosing. These important factors of care management are essential to proper diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making tied to better outcomes.

For instance, in order to properly diagnose and treat hypertension—a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, and renal failure—caregivers need to obtain accurate BP information that includes both current BP measurements and trending data.

Inaccurate BP measurement can lead to either a missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, both of which can cause harm to patients by either not appropriately treating hypertensive patients or medicating patients who are not hypertensive, respectively.

Because of its centrality in care and better outcomes, it is essential for BP measurement to be accurate and repeatable for all caregivers at all sites of care. Slight variations in technique and measurement can have a big impact on the effectiveness of the therapeutic management of many if not most, chronic diseases.

This paper will explore the main occurrences of inaccurate BP measurement and how healthcare organizations can take a standardized approach to BP measurement to help allow good experiences and outcomes to be duplicated.
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