Association of Structured Virtual Visits for Hypertension Follow-Up in Primary Care with Blood Pressure Control and Use of Clinical Services

David Michael Levine*, Ronald F. Dixon, Jeffrey A. Linder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Optimal management of hypertension requires frequent monitoring and follow-up. Novel, pragmatic interventions have the potential to engage patients, maintain blood pressure control, and enhance access to busy primary care practices. “Virtual visits” are structured asynchronous online interactions between a patient and a clinician to extend medical care beyond the initial office visit. Objective: To compare blood pressure control and healthcare utilization between patients who received virtual visits compared to usual hypertension care. Design: Propensity score-matched, retrospective cohort study with adjustment by difference-in-differences. Participants: Primary care patients with hypertension. Exposure: Patient participation in at least one virtual visit for hypertension. Usual care patients did not use a virtual visit but were seen in-person for hypertension. Main measures: Adjusted difference in mean systolic blood pressure, primary care office visits, specialist office visits, emergency department visits, and inpatient admissions in the 180 days before and 180 days after the in-person visit. Key results: Of the 1051 virtual visit patients and 24,848 usual care patients, we propensity score-matched 893 patients from each group. Both groups were approximately 61 years old, 44% female, 85% White, had about five chronic conditions, and about 20% had a mean pre-visit systolic blood pressure of 140–160 mmHg. Compared to usual care, virtual visit patients had an adjusted 0.8 (95% CI, 0.3 to 1.2) fewer primary care office visits. There was no significant adjusted difference in systolic blood pressure control (0.6 mmHg [95% CI, − 2.0 to 3.1]), specialist visits (0.0 more visits [95% CI, − 0.3 to 0.3]), emergency department visits (0.0 more visits [95% CI, 0.0 to 0.01]), or inpatient admissions (0.0 more admissions [95% CI, 0.0 to 0.1]). Conclusions: Among patients with reasonably well-controlled hypertension, virtual visit participation was associated with equivalent blood pressure control and reduced in-office primary care utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1862-1867
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • blood pressure control
  • hypertension
  • telemedicine
  • virtual visit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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