TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A mobile app developed by University of Alabama faculty and UA’s Center for Advanced Public Safety is helping individuals manage their blood pressure while also providing valuable resources that promote a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Louanne Friend, associate professor and director of residency research with UA’s College of Community Health Sciences, was the principal investigator for a grant provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health in 2018 to identify patients with undiagnosed hypertension.
“One key aspect of our intervention included in-person lifestyle education classes for patients to help them manage their blood pressure,” said Friend. “Many patients were unable to attend classes, so the idea for a mobile app was developed to provide education via smartphone.”
In 2019, Friend, Dr. Gregg Bell, assistant professor and senior data analyst for CCHS’ Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, and Suzanne Henson, registered dietician with CCHS, received an additional five years of funding from ADPH to develop a hypertension/obesity lifestyle educational app. The team collaborated with the UA Center for Advanced Public Safety to develop the HYPE app for University Medical Center patients.
“We wanted an app that could not only provide evidenced based lifestyle education, but also provide a mechanism for users to record their medications, activity levels, blood pressures and other key metrics,” said Friend. “In addition, the app provides tools to help users identify realistic goals they can achieve to help manage their blood pressure. The app also provides key information about University Medical Center clinics and providers, including our hours of operation and services.”
Although the HYPE app is targeted to UMC patients, it is a great tool for anyone looking to track their blood pressure daily and take advantage of educational resources that promote an active lifestyle. The app also provides reminders when it’s time to take scheduled medications.
“I would recommend the app to anyone who has hypertension since blood pressure control is largely up to the patient,” said Friend. “We certainly have medications that are also key to blood pressure management, but lifestyle changes including reduction in sodium intake, smoking cessation and increased physical activity are essential to cardiovascular health.
“Having one place to record weight, heart rate and blood pressure is convenient for users who can then share the data with their primary care providers. The most important aspect of the app is that it allows patients to take charge of their health and to become active partners in their care.”
The HYPE app is available in both iOS and Android formats.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.