Find out if home INR testing is right for you
3/22/2021 by Thomas Jaeger, M.D.
If you or a family member are taking a blood-thinning medication, like warfarin, for an indefinite period of time, the Primary Care Anticoagulation Clinic and the Mayo Clinic Store now offer a convenient option for testing INR (the time it takes for your blood to clot) 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 of glucose testing. Caregivers are welcome to learn, too.
- Demonstrate a consistent pattern of communicating with their health care team about their warfarin therapy.
Once patients are 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 Clinic Store on the 17th floor of the Gonda Building at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
- 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. The actual amount will depend on the individual's insurance. The specifics of the plan, deductible and copay amounts all vary. It will be the patient's responsibility to contact his or her 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 care provider.
Thomas Jaeger, M.D., is the medical director of the Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson Anticoagulation Clinic. He is a consultant in the Division of Community Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic practicing in the Baldwin Building.