If you’re on Warfarin you may be interested in this story. A recent study has shown that at-home coagulation testing helps patients get better outcomes on Warfarin than more traditional testing methods.
One of the biggest issues with Warfarin is the need to keep INR levels within optimal levels at all times. For most people this means multiple trips to the doctor or hospital so the patient can undergo testing.
The test results aren’t instant, so clinicians typically have to call each patient with management instructions.
However, the study managed things differently.
In the study, an outpatient “management by exception” protocol –was used and patients followed specific clinic-issued, written instructions for managing out-of-range International Normalized Ratio (INR) (coagulation) self-test results within predetermined safety range. Use of the protocol resulted in a 33 percent reduction in dangerously low and high INR test results.
Keep in mind that this study did not mean the end of doctor-assisted tests. It did mean that each patient had a better chance of controlling INR levels on a day-to-day basis. This means that when it came time for the doctor’s tests those who had used the protocols at home typically had normal test results and did not need additional management.
The goal was for medical staff to spend less time calling up patients to report test results and more time working with patients who need more urgent care.
Currently only 1-2% of patients use at-home testing. Many clinicians are simply not comfortable with it, but this study may start changing some minds.
Have you used self-testing in the past? How did it work out for you? Please share your story in the comments below!