Is home INR testing for you?
1/30/2017 by Dr. Thomas Jaeger
If you, or a family member, are taking warfarin (Coumadin®) for an indefinite period of time, the Employee and Community Health (ECH) Anticoagulation Clinic and the Mayo Store now offer a convenient option for testing INR at home. INR self-testing has been shown to provide effective control of warfarin anticoagulation. Patients also tend to have the lowest risk of either bleeding or clotting episodes.
Patients appropriate for this program are required to be on warfarin therapy for an indefinite period of time, such as for a mechanical heart valve, chronic atrial fibrillation or recurrent venous thromboembolism. They also should:
- Be on warfarin for at least 30 days and show consistent anticoagulation control.
- Be able and willing to learn to perform the finger-stick test, which is a straightforward technique similar to that for glucose testing. Caregivers are welcome to learn, too.
- Demonstrate a consistent pattern of communicating with their health care team about their warfarin therapy.
Once a patient is enrolled in the program, they will:
- Visit with the anticoagulation nursing staff to establish the frequency of testing and reporting.
- Obtain the meter, supplies and training through the Mayo Store on Gonda 17.
- Test their INR weekly and report the results to the Anticoagulation Clinic every month, or earlier if a result is out of range.
In-home monitoring is available for patients who have commercial insurance, Medicare or other government-sponsored insurance. While the vast majority of patients will have a very small out-of-pocket cost for this program, the actual amount will depend on the individual's insurance. The specifics of the plan, deductible and co-pay amounts all vary. It will be the patient's responsibility to contact their insurance carrier to know the exact amount of out-of-pocket cost. Our Anticoagulation Clinic staff will help by providing billing codes to interested patients.
For more information or to enroll in home INR testing, patients can contact the Anticoagulation Clinic's nursing staff or their primary provider.
Dr. Thomas Jaeger serves as medical director of the Employee and Community Health (ECH) Anticoagulation Clinic. He is a consultant in the Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine.