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NP develops smartphone screening app for pediatric hypertension

Thursday July 10, 2014
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About 10,000 users have downloaded a smartphone application developed by an Atlanta nurse practitioner that allows clinicians to quickly screen for hypertension in children and adolescents, according to a report from the Emory University School of Nursing.

The free application, called Pedia BP, was developed by Hope Bussenius, RN, DNP, FPN-BC, an assistant clinical professor and a family nurse practitioner at Emory University Neil Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in Atlanta. While she was working on her DNP, Bussenius looked for a way to simplify information from a complex set of tables developed by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on Adolescents and Children and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that clinicians use to determine whether children are at risk for hypertension after taking their blood pressure, according to an article by Pam Auchmutey in the Summer 2014 edition of Emory Nursing. The tables require nurses to cross-reference factors including gender, age and height to determine in which of four percentile ranges a child falls for hypertension.

On average, consulting the tables takes up 10 of the 15 minutes allotted for screening each child, according to the article. Bussnenius worked with a coding expert in California to create the application for about $1,000, and began using it in clinical practice in 2012. In a pilot study, Emory nursing students screened more than 200 children with the app during a farm worker health program in Georgia.

We found from our research that using Pedia BP saves two-thirds of time taking a pediatric blood pressure compared with using the traditional tables, Bussenius said in the article. Its easier to use, improves accuracy of results, simplifies the process, and saves time, which allows the provider to spend more time with the patient rather than combing through the 1,904 variables in the tables.

Bussenius said she will continue to work on upgrades for the app, including converting height measurements from centimeters (used by the CDC) to inches and calculating body mass index.


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