TV personality Kate Garraway launches The Personal Touch campaign calling for more of the 1.2 million warfarin users1 to have access to self-testing
New research by the Atrial Fibrillation Association, AntiCoagulation Europe and Roche2 reveals more than 9 out of 10 patients – 94 per cent – on warfarin want to be more involved or consulted in their care decisions; plus more than half of those not using a monitor didn’t know self-testing exists2. Moreover, only 3 per cent of heart patients on warfarin – who can benefit from self-testing – currently do so, despite the fact that it has shown to cut the risk of death by nearly two-fifths9, plus halve the risk of strokes and bleeding4.
Kate Garraway, TV presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star, today launches The Personal Touch campaign, with campaign partners, the Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA), Anti-Coagulation Europe (ACE) and Roche. The Personal Touch campaign calls for more of the 1.2m people1 on long-term anti-clotting drug warfarin to be given access to self-monitoring, reducing health risks such as bleeding3, strokes4 and death5, and giving people increased freedom and control.
The campaign launches as results from a new survey reveal that more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of warfarin users find regular clinic appointments inconvenient, yet more than half (55 per cent) of those not using a monitor didn’t even know that self-monitoring was an option2.Additionally, patients who self-monitor also remain longer in the therapy range – key in avoiding life-threatening clots, strokes or bleeding.10 Further studies show that almost four-fifths (77 per cent) of patients prefer patient self-testing to the usual model of care and more than eight out of 10 (87 per cent) found it straightforward9.
Self-monitoring is in line with the NHS Reform7 Agenda’s move to put people at the heart of care, giving them “more choice and control”. The new survey, run by AFA2, found that 94 per cent of people wanted to be more involved or consulted in care decisions, but 57 per cent were not aware of the NHS plans to do so 8. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the option to self-test and in doing so, empower patients to have more control over their care, where suitable. By adjusting their individually tailored care – care that allows people to self-test via a device, such as CoaguChek® XS meter, in a convenient 1-minute fingerprick blood test and modify their dosage, carried out in your home or elsewhere, rather than having to travel to clinics for intravenous blood tests.
Although 42 per cent of survey respondents found taking warfarin not a problem, and a further 29 per cent were reassured by taking it, 18 per cent wanted more freedom, control or a way to save time – 53 per cent of those using a monitor wanted it to have more control over their lives and 77 per cent identified ‘being in control of their health’ as one of the major benefits of self-testing2.
Self-testing further improves quality of life – over half of survey respondents who self-monitor only had to visit the clinic or surgery between one and four times a year, while those not self-testing, lost 4,764 hours on average2 travelling to clinic appointments (based on average clinic travel times of our respondents) which could be saved by using monitors to self-test. Freedom to travel was important to respondents: being able to go on holiday was the most popular choice – 77 per cent – regarding the difference self-testing had made to their lives, while over 25 per cent had had problems getting travel insurance, and 22 per cent not self-testing said their condition had prevented them from travelling2.
With the aim of improving patient care through technology, the NHS set up the Innovative Technology Adoption Procurement Programme (iTAPP) programme – which has approved Roche’s CoaguChek® XS technology, demonstrating that it is can deliver increased quality of care for patients and cost-savings to the NHS 12.
Eve Knight, Chief Executive of AntiCoagulation Europe (ACE) said, “The Personal Touch campaign is in tune with the NHS reform agenda’s aim to put the patient at the heart of care, giving them more choice and control. The Department of Health recently highlighted self-monitoring for warfarin users as a prime example of the modern NHS coping with the millions of people with chronic conditions8, yet too often we hear that our members are not able to get access to self-monitoring. We call today for healthcare professionals to give people who are suitable for self-monitoring the chance to do so – and let them benefit from the increased control over their lives.”
Trudie Lobban, Chief Executive of the Atrial Fibrillation Association, said: “We are delighted to support The Personal Touch campaign and call for more access to self-monitoring, which we believe can significantly improve the lives of people with atrial fibrillation – and other conditions requiring anti-clotting drugs – by reducing the risks of complications and allowing the freedom for people on long-term clotting drugs to test themselves wherever they are. We call on healthcare professionals to ensure that people who are suitable for self-monitoring are offered this as an option, and are provided with all necessary support to ensure they can benefit from it.”
Kate Garraway said, “As someone with close relatives who are on warfarin for the long-term, this campaign is very personal to me. Self-monitoring could benefit hundreds of thousands of people in the UK like my uncle and grandmother by giving them control over their lives, and the freedom to self-test at home or wherever they are. Less worry over what they eat or about going away – self-monitoring can ensure that they continue to have the right dose of anti-clotting drugs for them at all times. It has the potential to deliver huge benefits to long-term warfarin users, both in terms of freedom, improved management of their condition and peace of mind.”
Steve Davidson, Chairman of the Clinical Leaders of Thrombosis (CLOT) said: “Self-testing is a win-win situation for the patient, the healthcare professional, and the NHS. Self-testing has been shown to improve compliance and outcomes5, giving patients control over their therapy and lives, and reducing clinic appointments. The results of this new survey show that there is a missed opportunity for patients and the NHS, who could benefit more from self-testing.”
Peter Birtles, 64 years old, on long-term warfarin for 13 years, says, “I started self-testing over 10 years ago and it dramatically changed my life. I found it incredibly disruptive previously to have to make frequent visits to the clinic – it was really difficult for my job, and as a keen amateur mountaineer, it also really restricted my ability to travel and pursue my hobbies. I’m delighted that the CoaguChek® Academy self-testing online support has just been introduced, it’s a great tool to help patients get to grips with self-testing – helping bring new freedom to those hundreds of thousands of others, just as it has done to me.”
Allison Rossiter, Director of Point of Care at Roche said: “The Personal Touch campaign is about giving patients the option to self-test if appropriate for them, and self-testing is a vital part of a modern NHS, using modern technology to cope with increasing number of people with long-term conditions8, and putting patients’ more in control of how their condition is managed. Self-monitoring with the CoaguChek® XS meter gives people a quick, convenient way to test wherever they are, and enables them to tailor their dose depending on individual needs.”
Self-monitoring is suitable for half of the 1.2 million people taking oral anticoagulation therapy1with conditions including atrial fibrillation, mechanical heart valves, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, factor 5 leiden, heart attacks and strokes. People who would like to self-test should talk to their healthcare professional about their interest in self-testing and the next steps. The CoaguChek® Academy – www.coaguchekacademy.com– is a new e-learning tool to helping make it easier for people to start self-testing, and saving doctors and nurses time while checking the suitability of self-monitoring for individual patients.
To find out more about patient self-testing and the CoaguChek® XS meter, call 0808 100 7666 or visit www.coaguchek.co.uk.
1. Atrial Fibrillation Association ttp://www.atrialfibrillation.org.uk/ Accessed 18 May 2011
2. Atrial Fibrillation Association, Anti-Coagulation Europe and Roche Diagnostics survey of people on long-term warfarin, May 2011. Methodology: the survey was run online by the Atrial Fibrillation Association in May, supported by AntiCoagulation Europe and Roche, and surveyed a total of 633 people on long-term warfarin.
3. Hylek EM et al. Effect of intensity of oral anticoagulation on stroke severity and mortality in atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2003; 349(11) 1019-26.
4. Heneghan C et al. Self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2006:367(9508):404-11.
5. Garcia-Alamino JM, Ward AM, Alonso-Coello P, Perera R, Bankhead C, Fitzmaurice D, Heneghan CJ. Self-monitoring and self-management of oral anticoagulation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010
6. Kulinna W et al. Ann intern Med 1999:25:123-126; Menendez-Jandul;a B et al. Ann Intern Med 2005:142:1-10
7. Department of Health White Paper. Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS. 12 July 2010 available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/MediaCentre/Pressreleases/DH_117360 accessed June 2011.
8. Department of Health media release. Millions of patients set to benefit from a modern NHS. 14 March 2011. Available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/MediaCentre/Pressreleases/DH_125042 accessed June 2011
9. Gardiner C et al, British Journal of Haematology 2004 Patient self-testing is a reliable and acceptable alternative to laboratory INR monitoring.
10. Bernardo A, Voller H. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Selbstkontrolle der Antikoagulation (ASA). Guidelines for ’’Coagulation selfmanagement’’. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2001;126(12): 346-51.
11. DiMatteo MR. Patient adherence to pharmacotherapy: the importance of effective communication. Formulary 1995; 30; 596-8, 601-2,605
12. Innovative Technology Adoption Procurement Programme (iTAPP) available at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Managingyourorganisation/NHSprocurement/DH_121248 accessed June 2011