Primary care anticoagulant clinic management using computerized decision support and near patient International Normalized Ratio (INR) testing: Routine data from a practice nurse-led clinic
Background. Increasing indications for warfarin therapy has led to increased pressure on primary care to undertake therapeutic monitoring. Objective. This study evaluates a primary care model of oral anticoagulation monitoring which utilises computerized decision support (CDSS) and near patient testing (NPT) within a practice nurse-led clinic. Whilst this has been shown to be a successful model under trial conditions, this paper reports the first data from a long-standing clinic, outside a formal study. Method. A prospective evaluation of therapeutic and clinical control of all patients taking warfarin within one inner city general practice. Data were collected via CDSS. Results. 29 patients were seen in 208 appointments. The mean percentage of patients within therapeutic range was 72%. The costs to the practice were £1751. The costs the practice would have incurred had these patients been seen at the hospital with the same frequency would have been £2290. Conclusions. The use of CDSS and NPT for nurse-delivered oral anticoagulation monitoring could enable the safe transfer of the majority of patients from secondary to primary care. Funding mechanisms to support the transfer of costs will be essential for most practices, as will be the maintenance of adequate staff training and quality assurance.