Worldwide sales of Omron blood pressure monitors top 200 million units
In November of 2016, cumulative global sales of Omron Healthcare’s home-use blood pressure monitors reached 200 million units. Forty-three years have passed since our first blood pressure monitor was released in June 1973. After our blood pressure monitors achieved cumulative global sales of 100 million units in September of 2009, the next milestone of 200 million units was attained in seven years. Reflecting the rapidly aging populations worldwide and the increasing number of people suffering from lifestyle diseases in emerging nations, the practice of self-monitoring blood pressure at home has quickly spread throughout global societies. This trend was also encouraged by recent research supporting the importance of home blood pressure monitoring for diagnosis and treatment of hypertension. This also led to the incorporation of blood pressure measured at home as a reference standard for diagnosis in hypertension management guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international authorities. Our monitors are available in more than 110 countries/regions across the world, and Omron has become a household name for blood pressure monitors in global society.
Even so, the 200 million mark is just a way station for us.
We will continue meeting the challenges of further increasing the prevalence of blood pressure monitors and achieving “zero cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events (zero events).”
Easy and accurate measurement for anyone
It was 1973 when Omron released its first electronic blood pressure monitor—the HEM-1. This manual manometer-type unit made its debut around the time when the notion of measuring blood pressure at home was still uncommon in society. This product was based on the concept of Health Engineering advocated by Omron founder Kazuma Tateishi. He thought of the human body as a tissue engineering-based aggregate system, and thought he could apply automation theory into health management and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness. Since then, Omron has worked steadily to improve home-use blood pressure monitors by adopting state-of-the-art biometric sensing technology and continuously refining it.
In the development of blood pressure monitors, Omron has remained steadfastly committed to pursuing the highest possible accuracy and ease of use. For example, the HEM-706 fuzzy logic automatic digital blood pressure monitor introduced in 1991 was able to automatically set the optimal cuff inflation level for each user, eliminating human error in setting and taking blood pressure readings. Moreover, it reduced stress to the user during measurement, such as arm pain caused by an excessively inflated cuff. As a result, the monitor enabled accurate and comfortable blood pressure monitoring. The HEM-1000, marketed in 2004, featured a pneumatically operated fully automatic cuff wrapping system. Instead of manually winding the cuff around the arm, the user was only required to put his/her arm into the cylindrical cuff unit and press the start button. This unit was based on the universal design concept, which enables anyone to effortlessly take accurate blood pressure readings.
Recently, Omron Healthcare has been offering new health management services and communications-enabled devices. One service lets users track home-measured blood pressure changes in graph form, using a communications-enabled monitor and a health management app. Another service helps doctors use home-monitored blood pressure data for diagnosis and treatment.
Creating awareness of the importance of home blood pressure
monitoring through engagement with medical professionals
A partnership with the medical community is essential for promoting the spread of home blood pressure monitoring. We participate in research projects conducted by world-leading medical professionals and research institutes in various ways, including donating devices for use in research.
For example, Omron Healthcare assisted in the Ohasama study led by Professor Yutaka Imai of Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Medicine. Initiated in 1986, this study distributed Omron’s home-use monitors to residents of Ohasama-machi in Iwate prefecture, and had them take daily BP measurements from their homes. Addressing the relationship between blood pressure and illness, this long-term community survey using home-monitored blood pressure data as an indicator was a truly revolutionary study. It gave rise to many important findings, such as the conclusion that home blood pressure monitoring is more effective than clinic measurement in predicting the risk of a stroke. The scientific achievements of the Ohasama study were highly recognized worldwide, and adopted by WHO and many other providers of hypertension guidelines. The Japanese Society of Hypertension Guidelines for the Management of Hypertension (JSH 2014) included a description that said, “When there is a discrepancy of diagnosis between clinic BP and home BP, a home BP-based diagnosis should have priority.” This led to the establishment of home-monitored blood pressure as the most important tool for diagnosis of hypertension.
Instilling the importance of home blood pressure monitoring
in the public
To further promote home blood pressure monitoring, it is essential to increase public knowledge of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, as well as cerebral infarction, myocardial infarction and other diseases caused by high blood pressure. We also need to widely instill the fact that daily monitoring of blood pressure can help prevent these diseases. To this end, we are striving to expand our educational and awareness-raising activities in Japan to other countries and regions of the world. Thus, we can teach more and more people of the importance of home blood pressure monitoring, while making sure to respect each region’s culture and customs. At present, we are committed to promoting the use of blood pressure monitors in emerging nations that have experienced rapid economic growth. Along with that growth, there has been a sharp increase in patients with lifestyle diseases, and we can help these people prevent high blood pressure-caused diseases. For example, we conduct “Omron Academy” workshops in Russia and the Middle East to help healthcare professionals increase knowledge by providing information on diseases that hypertensive patients are likely to develop. For the general public, free blood pressure checks are provided at pharmacies to make them informed of the importance of regular monitoring of blood pressure. In Bangladesh, which suffers from a shortage of doctors, we distributed our blood pressure monitors to each village’s community clinic so as to encourage residents to make a habit of measuring blood pressure.