Nursing Professor Researches Smartphone App Designed to Save Lives

  • Dr. Vanessa Monroe

Preventing abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, can save a life. If this “silent killer” is left untreated, hypertension can lead to stroke, congestive heart failure, or progression of coronary heart disease. According to new research, African-American women are twice as likely as other ethnic groups to suffer from hypertension and hypertension-related complications. Dr. Vanessa Monroe, a clinical assistant professor at Prairie View A&M University’s College of Nursing, just wrapped up a research study on a new smartphone app that offers help to men and women who live with hypertension.

“’OnTimeRx’ is a reminder service that works to remind patients when to take their medications,” said Monroe. “I started research using this software app in 2015 after contacting the developer who is also a pharmacist who worked with transplant patients. I wanted to apply the application to hypertension management to see if it could improve adherence rates because rates above 80-percent can lead to better blood pressure control.”

Monroe’s research proved ‘OnTimeRx’ was an effective method for increasing medication adherence, especially in hypertensive African-American women. “I believe more healthcare providers should strategically use technology-based options to increase patient medication adherence to save lives,” said Monroe. “In the future, I would like to expand this research study to a larger group of participants in other parts of the United States; and this group would include participants from different cultures, men, children, adolescents, and pregnant women. This study was solely focused on African-American women who live with high blood pressure.”

Monroe presented the results of this study at the Lone Star Stroke Consortium Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas. She is scheduled to speak in Toronto, Canada in November 2018 and just accepted an invitation to speak in London, England in June of 2019.

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-This story by Marchita Shilo originally appeared in Academic Insights.