Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Lark and Omron use AI to reduce blood pressure

Steve Rogerson
October 1, 2019

Joint analysis from Lark Health and Omron Helathcare shows AI health coaching coupled with home blood pressure monitoring can lead to significant reduction in blood pressure.
Lark's hypertension management programme paired with Omron blood pressure monitor showed an average blood pressure reduction of 8.4/6.4mm Hg over six months.
Lark Health is a California-based chronic disease prevention and management platform, and Illinois-based Omron Healthcare specialises in personal heart health and wellness technology. Their joint analysis shows the benefits of real-time coaching through artificial intelligence (AI) coupled with a connected home blood pressure monitoring device for controlling hypertension.
After six months of using Lark's hypertension management programme paired with an upper arm blood pressure monitor from Omron, participants experienced a sustained average blood pressure reduction of 8.4/6.4mm Hg. Research has shown that a 5mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure is associated with a 34% reduction in stroke risk, according to a study in the Jama.
The hypertension management programme, which is based on the American Heart Association's care plan guidelines, includes regular blood pressure collection and hypertension-specific coaching that incorporates interpretation of blood pressure measurements, hypertension education, hypertension-specific nutrition coaching through voice or text, and medication adherence guidance.
Participants received the Omron 7 series (BP 761N) wireless upper-arm blood pressure monitor, which is connected via Bluetooth and automatically records the participants' blood pressure readings for analysis by the Lark platform.
"Nearly one in two American adults have high blood pressure," said Lark CEO and co-founder Julia Hu. “That's a staggering portion of our population who are at-risk for a wide range of serious conditions like stroke, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease. To solve this escalating health crisis, we need health solutions that can easily scale at a more affordable price than current care management solutions in the market. That's why we are so pleased to partner with Omron on a hypertension management programme that is showing such promising results."
The study included 76 participants with an average age of 61.8 years and a starting average systolic blood pressure of 139.2mm Hg. Omron and Lark concluded that an intervention programme that included both home monitoring of blood pressure as well as activity tracking, education, medication adherence and nutrition counselling services could be highly effective for hypertension management.
The study captured systolic and diastolic blood pressure collected through at-home measurements, and resulted in the average dropping to 130.8 (a decrease of 8.4mm Hg) at six months. Additionally, the average starting diastolic blood pressure was 89.0 and decreased to 82.6 (a 6.4mm Hg reduction) at six months.
"These findings endorse the efficacy of home blood pressure monitoring and coaching to empower and engage patients in effective hypertension management," said Jim Li, executive director at Omron Healthcare. "Millions of Americans have hypertension, and Omron is focused on how monitoring and digital health innovations can help every one of them towards better heart health."
In addition to seeing decreasing blood pressure, engagement data from the Lark programme indicate participants were actively using the platform to manage their hypertension throughout the six months. Participants averaged 141 one-on-one counselling sessions with their Lark coach and 185 blood pressure measurements (one per day), and the average participant satisfaction score for this study group was 9.45 on a ten-point scale.
This level of engagement is said to be unparalleled among disease management platforms and impossible to replicate with more traditional programmes leveraging telephonic health coaches.
Current national data show the need for on-going patient behaviour support. As pointed out by the CDC, less than ten per cent of Americans consume a healthy diet, while just half of all Americans achieve the recommended 2.5 hours of aerobic activity per week. According to the American Heart Association, almost half of patients taking blood pressure medication still experience blood pressure levels considered uncontrolled. In addition, only 36.6 per cent of those diagnosed with hypertension self-monitor blood pressure at home at least once a month, noted the CDC, and only a fifth of patients adhere to their medication routine, according to the AHA Journal of Hypertension.
Lark Health uses AI and connected health monitors, which can escalate to live nurses, to provide real-time, personalised, round-the-clock support and counselling to help users make healthier choices and manage their conditions. Its diabetes prevention, wellness, diabetes care and hypertension programme have served nearly two million members, and have demonstrated clinically validated outcomes published in 11 peer-reviewed journals, analyst reports and papers.
Omron Healthcare makes and distributes personal heart health and wellness products, including home blood pressure monitors and electrotherapy devices. Omron invented its first blood pressure monitors more than 40 years ago.