First CCG to launch digital self-monitoring service for warfarin patients with the help of Cornish health technology company
SCSLhealth, the health technology company based in Camborne is known nationally as the home of INRstar – the award-winning software for anticoagulation (AC) management. The company has had reason to celebrate yet more achievements in pioneering health technology recently, namely in delivering the software interface for the first fully digitalised patient self-monitoring service in the Isle Of Wight.
The Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched the INR self-monitoring service as a pilot to allow patients under the guidance of their GP, to manage their condition more conveniently from home.
The new automated service transforms how patients on long-term AC medication warfarin are monitored, allowing them to receive their adjusted warfarin dose via INRstar dosing software. Previously, patients on warfarin needed to attend clinic every few weeks for a simple blood test, to check how quickly their blood clots, which is measured using the international normalised ratio (INR).
One of the pilot’s objectives was to address the inconvenience experienced by patients in very rural areas who often have to travel further (with fewer transport links) to their local practice or treatment centre. The rural demographics are similar to those of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where patients with long term conditions are often in rural locations with transport challenges.
With the new service, the patient sends their blood test reading securely to the local clinic via their communication of choice, for example by a pre-arranged phone call or email, and using digital technology from Inhealthcare, the data integrates into INRstar dosing software which in turn feeds into the patient record and improves safety by reducing the risk of manual data entry. The patient’s new warfarin dosage is calculated in INRstar and is then relayed back to the patient.
The service enables patients the freedom to live a normal life, enabling them to go on holiday and still send in their readings remotely. Patients will no longer have to take regular time off work, pay for travel or clinic car parks.
Dr Mark Sullivan, Medical Director and Founder of SCSLhealth the home of INRstar comments, “For patients in rural communities such as the Isle of Wight but also here in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, self-monitoring linked to clinically risk assessed dosing software offers convenience and control, giving them the choice to manage their own condition safely. It also means they can avoid frequent and often inconvenient trips to the clinic to have their INR checked. For healthcare professionals, this service gives them the peace of mind that – as well as freeing up time in practice – self-monitoring can be delivered and audited safely. As the Isle of Wight has a similarly rural community to Cornwall, I could see there being real benefits to this pilot being replicated in the region.”
Pauline Mairs, IOW CCG Primary Care Commissioning Manager adds, “We’re thrilled to be leading the way with the launch of this service. In addition to patient convenience, we hope that this digital service will allow patients to take a greater interest in their condition, monitoring their INR enabling them to stay within their therapeutic range – reducing their risk of a stroke. This reflects NICE’s latest guidance on the potential of improving health outcomes with self-monitoring and self-testing.”
The CCG is initially piloting the service to 100 patients in the Sandown area of the Isle of Wight, although a national service is planned to roll out from spring 2016 which should provide opportunities for other rural communities like Cornwall and Isles of Scilly to improve patient outcomes and choice.