Introduction: Rapid globalization has produced a growing demand for the chronic care management of overseas populations living in medically underserved areas. This study investigated the utilization pattern of telehealth counselling among overseas Koreans with high blood pressure, and evaluated the relationships between mobile self-monitoring application and blood pressure reduction. Methods: A global chronic management programme consisting of lifestyle modification and self-monitoring blood pressure was launched to provide a telehealth counselling service for Koreans with high blood pressure living in Vietnam from August 2016 to December 2017. During the first telehealth session, doctors educated patients on lifestyle modifications using a mobile self-monitoring application and checked the change of blood pressure in a follow-up telehealth visit. We examined utilization patterns and compared the blood pressure change among the mobile self-monitoring group versus the control group using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Results: A total of 234 patients with systolic blood pressure of more than 130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure of more than 80 mmHg were registered, installed the mobile app and were provided with automated blood pressure devices with the telehealth counselling service by Korean doctors. A follow-up telehealth counselling session was provided at three months. Only 15% (36/234) received two or more telehealth counselling sessions. Significant differences were found in the mean change of systolic blood pressure at three months in the monitoring group and the non-monitoring group (−16.0 vs. −5.7, p = 0.008). Discussion: In this unique telehealth study, a mobile self-monitoring application was associated with significantly reducing systolic blood pressure levels in three months. Encouraging patients via a mobile application that includes a self-monitoring function might have the potential for self-managing chronic diseases, especially in resource-limited environments.
- blood pressure self-monitoring
- medically underserved area
- remote consultation