The AAMC Anticoagulation Clinic is a special clinic that educates patients, monitors tests that measures the blood's clotting ability, called the international normalized ratio (INR), reviews your current medications for interactions and adjusts doses for patients who take warfarin (Coumadin®). The following are some answers to frequently asked questions that may be helpful.
You need to take an appropriate dose of warfarin (Coumadin®) in order to prevent clot formation or bleeding. Since many medications, foods, and illnesses can affect your response to warfarin, frequent blood tests and dose adjustments are required. The goal is to maintain a therapeutic level to increase the time between clinic visits.
The clinic uses Point of Care Testing (POCT) to check your INR. POCT uses a hand-held machine to test your INR (International Normalization Ratio). With POCT, results are available in minutes using a fingerstick sample allowing for immediate interpretation of the results and dosage adjustments. Upon leaving the clinic you will know your results, your new warfarin dose and when to return for follow-up.
Traditionally, patients have to have a blood test, drawn from an arm vein. This required a blood draw at a doctor's office or outside lab. Testing and results can take up to 48 hours resulting in delayed dosing changes when necessary.
Studies show that outpatient anticoagulation clinics provide more precise control of anticoagulation therapy. In general, you can expect better outcomes and fewer problems from either over or under anticoagulation.
You will see a clinical pharmacist at each visit, who will interpret your results and immediately determine if any changes are needed in the dosage before you leave the clinic.
They'll also assess medication compliance, discuss potential complications, and review your other drug therapies to design a dosing regimen just for you.
You'll also receive individualized patient education and counseling to discuss your needs, preferences and lifestyle. Family members and/or caregivers are welcome to join.
The clinic has early hours with set appointment times.
Clinic staff has access to AAMC patient records, giving the clinician up-to-date information about changes in your medical condition and medications. All documentation is done electronically, which gives all clinicians directly involved in your care access to the results.
You will need a clinical referral specific to the AAMC Anticoagulation Services Clinic from your physician in order to be enrolled. This is not an insurance referral. This clinical referral provides medical information and instruction to the pharmacist to appropriately care for the patient. The clinic accepts referrals from physicians and healthcare providers who are in good standing with their State Board of Physicians at all stages of Coumadin® therapy.
During your first visit, you will receive additional education about your anticoagulation therapy and there will be a review of your medical history. The new patient appointment will take about 45 minutes. Follow-up appointments typically last less than 15 minutes. Each visit will include a fingerstick to measure your INR, questions about your health, medication changes and upcoming procedures. The clinical pharmacist will then decide if your dose needs to be adjusted and when you will need to return for your next visit. The goal is to have you return as infrequently as possible, but no longer than every 4 weeks.
Most insurance plans cover at least some of the visit to the clinic. Coverage and reimbursement may vary depending on the individual plan. Your insurance will be billed automatically, but you may be responsible for a co-pay or any unmet deductibles. Please call the clinic for information regarding your specific coverage benefits.