Blood cellThe Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (IOW CCG) is to be the first to launch an international normalised ratio (INR) self-monitoring service, which will allow patients on warfarin to lead a less disrupted life.

The new automated services, created by digital health specialist Inhealthcare, provides a new way of monitoring patients on long-term anticoagulation medication, allowing them to self-test at home and receive their adjusted warfarin dose.  

The change means that patients who were previously obliged to attend clinic every few weeks can now run the tests in the comfort of their own home, relieving pressure on clinics and, hopefully, a less disrupted life for the individual and their family.

The system works by using a finger prick blood sample on a test strip which is then inserted into the Roche INR self-testing device (CoaguChek®). The patient sends their new reading securely to the local clinic via their communication of choice, for example by a pre-arranged phone call or by going online. Inhealthcare technology then integrates this new data into INRstar, which feeds into the patient record. The patient’s new warfarin dosage is calculated in INRstar – the anticoagulation software already used by clinicians to enable safe dosing, which is then relayed back to the patient.

This gives patients the freedom to live a normal life, enabling them to go on holiday, and still send in their readings remotely. Patients will no longer have to take regular time off work, pay for travel or clinic car parks. 

“All warfarin clinics on the island are experiencing a high volume of patients accessing the service, so enabling patients to self-test will alleviate pressure on General Practice.  The reduction in patients attending the clinics will allow more time to be spent with more complex patients, increasing the level of care for all,” said  Dr Peter Randall, Clinical Lead for the home testing pilot on the IOW.

Pauline Mairs, IOW CCG Primary Care Commissioning Manager said: “We’re thrilled to be leading the way with the launch of this service. In addition to patient convenience, we hope that this digital service will allow patients to take a greater interest in their condition by monitoring their INR, enabling them to stay within their therapeutic range and reducing their risk of strokes. This reflects NICE’s latest guidance on the potential of improving health outcomes with self-monitoring and self-testing”.

The initiative is being piloted by 100 patients in the Sandown area of the Isle of Wight and, should this pilot be successful, the intention would be to roll out the service to other patients.