Virtual Education Effective for Patient Self-Testing for Warfarin Therapy
The COVID-19 pandemic helped drive the modern telemedicine movement, including management of warfarin and other prescription drugs, but it is important to identify which virtual programs are actually effective. One intervention that appears to be working, according to new research is online training for patient self-testing (PST) among users of warfarin. The drug provides prophylaxis against thrombotic events, but frequent labwork is needed to ensure that the International Normalized Ratio (INR) remains in target range to prevent thromboembolic events or bleeding. To participate in home monitoring, patients previously had to receive in-person education — until Medicare pivoted during the public health emergency to allow for virtual training. The new study, appearing in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, demonstrates improved INR control in patients who received virtual PST training during the pandemic compared with those who received in-person training before COVID. While virtual PST education is promising, study co-author Erika Leemann Price, MD, MPH, of the University of California, San Francisco, notes that it may not work well for every patient — in particular, older adults with physical and/or cognitive challenges or other barriers to engagement in telemedicine.
Read more on the Joint Commission.