In light of Government advice that all pregnant women should practise stringent social distancing and limit face-to-face contact during the Covid-19 outbreak; and with concern that these requirements could be in place for some time, I welcome today’s launch of BPm-Health, a remote monitoring system to help pregnant women self-monitor and manage blood pressure at home. During these extraordinary and often challenging times we are conscious of the need to support hospitals in maintaining acute care services, such as maternity services. That is why we are offering BPm-Health free to NHS Trusts for one year from May 2020.
Women require blood pressure monitoring during pregnancy to help identify those who develop high blood pressure including pre-eclampsia: a condition which affects around 6% of pregnancies in the UK but can be much more common in women with certain risk factors. Pre-eclampsia may lead to either the mother or baby, or both, becoming unwell.
BPm-Health, listed in the new Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) guidance on self-monitoring of BP, aims to help expectant mothers to self-monitor their blood pressure accurately and easily, communicating results to their healthcare team remotely rather than at face-to-face clinic appointments. Women are sent alerts when it is time to take a reading, and can then record data on the patient app. The app displays RCOG advice on what women should do dependent on the results submitted.
As a practising consultant obstetric physician, I’m acutely aware that the pandemic is a cause of worry for expectant mothers as access to antenatal and postnatal services has been modified and some face-to-face appointments have been postponed. Women, particularly with risk factors for pre-eclampsia, may be concerned about how often they should be checking their blood pressure. Of course, a woman who is concerned about her own wellbeing or that of her baby, should seek medical advice. Likewise, pregnant women require a minimum safe level of check-ups and tests. However, there is increasing recognition of the acceptability and benefits of self-monitoring blood pressure during pregnancy in providing high-quality healthcare, both during this challenging period and in the changed world we will find ourselves in once this pandemic has passed.
BPm-Health is one of three apps listed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in its recent guidance ‘Self-monitoring of blood pressure in pregnancy’ . The formal launch of the product follows successful academic trials at the University of Oxford.
Sensyne has been delighted with the uptake by the NHS of Sensyne Health’s offer, announced in March 2020, to provide GDm-Health™, a remote monitoring system for the management of diabetes in pregnancy, for free for one year. The addition of BPm-Health will help Trusts offer pregnant women the highest quality care through remote monitoring.
For more information on using BPm-Health, please contact us.
Dr Lucy Mackillop is a consultant obstetric physician at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health, University of Oxford, and Chief Medical Officer at Sensyne Health.