September 23, 2015

I Can Test Myself: Glasgow is leading the way with INR self-testing

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at Roche’s INR self-testing campaign aimed at patients in Glasgow. The TV ad and supporting material is being aired throughout August and September to appeal to the 13,000+ patients in Glasgow currently relying on warfarin to reduce their risk of a stroke and other adverse events.

The traditional pathway for these patients can sometimes feel like a part time job. Their lifestyle becomes ruled by their condition, as care is dominated by face-to-face consultations. Regular trips to the clinic are not only costly to the NHS, but to the patients themselves. Patients may have to take time from work, book an appointment within clinic operating hours, arrange child care and fork out for travel expenses and parking, all before taking a seat in the busy waiting room.

However, with a handheld device, patients are able to self-test their INR (rate at which the blood clots) from the comfort and convenience of their own homes. This reduces the strain on healthcare professionals and removes much of the inconvenience for the patients, meaning everyone benefits.

Across the UK a small number of patients are already managing their INR without stepping foot in a clinic. A small finger prick blood sample enables patients to re-gain their independence. What’s more is that Roche have teamed with NHS Health Call to create an integrated pathway across County Durham and Darlington which connects remotely monitored data with patient’s care teams. The digital health technology developed by Inhealthcare, means that a patient can self-test, and their readings can be sent to their patient record via a range of communication methods to suit e.g. automated phone call, SMS, online portal.

This means that without the hassle of clinic trips, patient’s quality of care isn’t compromised as they still have the reassurance of clinical support from professionals. A recent 24 month follow up evaluation of NHS Health Call’s INR self-testing service has also shown excellent improvement in clinical outcomes – patients increased their time in therapeutic range (TTR) from 59% to 75%. The more time spent in TTR the less chance of a stroke or other adverse events. This means that self-testing is not only enabling more independent lifestyles, but giving patients the tools to manage their own health effectively.

So in Glasgow, Roche have launched a campaign to promote independence through the use of this service. The ad shows a warfarin patient Alec, who now chooses to spend his time tending to his garden rather than making inconvenient clinic trips. Have a read of this supporting leaflet which outline how easy self-testing can be.

Digital health should be all about increased efficacy and improved efficiency – primarily it should be used to promote independence, to allow patients who need to regular monitoring to maintain their ability to lead uninterrupted lives.

Here is a great example of a service that should be embraced by the NHS!

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