Engagement in Self-measured Blood Pressure Monitoring Among Medically Underresourced Participants (the Reach Out Trial): Digital Framework Qualitative Study

Abby Katherine Hellem, Candace Whitfield, Amanda Casetti, Maria Cielito Robles, MacKenzie Dinh, William Meurer, Lesli Skolarus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Mobile health (mHealth) interventions serve as a scalable opportunity to engage people with hypertension in self-measured blood pressure (SMBP) monitoring, an evidence-based approach to lowering blood pressure (BP) and improving BP control. Reach Out is an SMS text messaging-based SMBP mHealth trial that aims to reduce BP among hypertensive patients recruited from the emergency department of a safety net hospital in a low-income, predominately Black city. Objective: As the benefits of Reach Out are predicated on participants'engagement with the intervention, we sought to understand participants' determinants of engagement via prompted SMBP with personalized feedback (SMBP+feedback). Methods: We conducted semistructured telephone interviews based on the digital behavior change interventions framework. Participants were purposively sampled from 3 engagement categories: high engagers (≥80% response to SMBP prompts), low engagers (≤20% response to BP prompts), and early enders (participants who withdrew from the trial). Results: We conducted interviews with 13 participants, of whom 7 (54%) were Black, with a mean age of 53.6 (SD 13.25) years. Early enders were less likely to be diagnosed with hypertension prior to Reach Out, less likely to have a primary care provider, and less likely to be taking antihypertensive medications than their counterparts. Overall, participants liked the SMS text messaging design of the intervention, including the SMBP+feedback. Several participants across all levels of engagement expressed interest in and identified the benefit of enrolling in the intervention with a partner of their choice. High engagers expressed the greatest understanding of the intervention, the least number of health-related social needs, and the greatest social support to engage in SMBP. Low engagers and early enders shared a mixed understanding of the intervention and less social support compared to high engagers. Participation decreased as social needs increased, with early enders sharing the greatest amount of resource insecurity apart from a notable exception of a high engager with high health-related social needs. Conclusions: Prompted SMBP+feedback was perceived favorably by all participants. To enhance SMBP engagement, future studies could consider greater support in the initiation of SMBP, evaluating and addressing participants' unmet health-related social needs, as well as strategies to cultivate social norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere38900
JournalJMIR Cardio
StatePublished - 2023


  • DBCI framework
  • blood pressure
  • cardiovascular disease
  • hypertension
  • intervention engagement
  • mHealth
  • mobile health
  • semistructured interviews
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Health Informatics


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