Hypertension (HTN) has a greater impact on African Americans (AA) than any other U.S. racial group. Uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) contributes to higher rates of disability, death, and health resource use among AA. HTN is the single most influential risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as a risk factor for the incidence of stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and dementia. Importantly, older adults account for 15% of the U.S. population, and two-thirds of older adults over age 60 have HTN, with higher rates observed in AA older adults. Strategies to support self-managing HTN and BP control are crucial as the older population is projected to age considerably and become more racially and ethnically diverse. Research has documented the negative effects on health and health outcomes of poorly controlled BP and is one of the most important modifiable CVD risk factors. Lower BP targets will require aggressive management and an increase in antihypertensive medications. Therefore, to achieve lower targets in this population, greater efforts, including patient-centered methods will be needed to support self-managing HTN, especially in terms of medication adherence.
As we shifted into the digital age, the use of mHealth technologies (smart phones, applications, SMS or text messaging) has been a powerful approach and mechanism for the treatment and management of chronic diseases. However, behavioral interventions that incorporate technology do not reach minorities or disadvantaged AA older adults with HTN. OPtimizing Technology to Improve Medication Adherence and BP Control (OPTIMA-BP) will leverage existing knowledge of effective technology-based components for HTN self-management to support and improve BP control using unique aspects of mHealth platforms in AA older adults. Findings from this study, if confirmed, will improve BP control and support self-managing HTN, as well as has the potential to close the health disparity gap between AA and non-AA older adults with HTN.