Abstract 137: Anticoagulation clinic provider’s perspective on management of patients on target specific oral anticoagulants: insights from the Veterans Affairs Health Care System
Background: Patients on target specific anticoagulants (TSOACs) such as dabigatran do not require routine laboratory testing and dose adjustment. In the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), anticoagulation clinics (ACCs) may elect to follow and manage patients on TSOACs, but whether it is needed or the optimal duration of follow-up is unknown. Our objective was to assess the perspective of anticoagulation clinic providers on follow-up care for dabigatran patients and to identify site-level practices associated with improved adherence to dabigatran.
Methods: We ascertained ACC providers’ perspectives through semi-structured interviews by a single, trained internist. Purposive sampling was utilized to recruit senior ACC providers or supervisors at VHA sites with over 20 patients on dabigatran. We stratified sites into high and low performing sites based on whether sites had ≥ 75% of their patients adherent, based on a proportion-of-days-covered calculation. Data from the interviews was analyzed by 2 reviewers in an iterative process to identify recurrent and unifying themes. Constant comparative method of qualitative data analysis was used to identify best practices across various sites.
Results: We interviewed ACC providers from 39 sites - including 18 providers at 16 high-performing sites and 25 providers at 23 low-performing sites. Follow-up practices for dabigatran varied across sites, with 6 sites not providing any follow-up, 14 sites following-up patients for less than 3 months, 9 sites following-up patients for 6 months, and 10 sites following-up patients indefinitely. During these follow-up visits, patients were contacted at regular intervals, mostly via telephone, by ACC providers to provide education, assess side-effects and adherence. Key strategies implemented at high-performing sites compared to low-performing sites included (1) examining adherence to other twice daily medications prior to approving dabigatran (2) education of patients by ACC providers prior to dabigatran initiation (3) continued telephone follow up by ACC staff despite no need for INR checks. Over a third of ACC providers expressed concerns regarding patient adherence to dabigatran. Most common reasons for this concern included its special storage requirements and high incidence of gastrointestinal side effects leading to high discontinuation rates.
Conclusion: Dedicated follow-up of patients on dabigatran is associated with improved adherence. A multi-disciplinary approach involving anti-coagulation clinic providers to provide education and follow-up may be beneficial in management of TSOACs. Future work should compare the apparent benefit of this strategy with its non-trivial cost.
Author Disclosures: S. Shore: None. P. Ho: None. A. Lambert-Kerzner: None. F. Cunningham: None. M. McCarren: None. L. Longo: None. A. Barón: None. M. Plomondon: None. T.M. Maddox: None. A.J. Rose: None. M. Turakhia: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.