Optimising clinical effectiveness and quality along the atrial fibrillation anticoagulation pathway: An economic analysis

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Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia. A service evaluation was carried out at an anticoagulation clinic in Newcastle upon-Tyne to explore the efficacy of introducing self-testing of anticoagulation status for AF patients on warfarin. The analysis presented aims to assess the potential cost savings and clinical outcomes associated with introducing self-testing at a clinic in the Northeast of England, and to determine the cost-effectiveness of a redesigned treatment pathway including genetic testing and self-testing components. Methods: Questionnaires were administered to individuals participating in the service evaluation to understand the patient costs associated with clinical monitoring (139 patients), and quality-of-life before and after the introduction of self-testing (varying numbers). Additionally, data on time in therapeutic range (TTR) were captured at multiple time points to identify any change in outcome. Finally, an economic model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of introducing a redesigned treatment pathway, including genetic testing and self-testing, for AF patients. Results: The average cost per patient of attending the anticoagulation clinic was £16.24 per visit (including carer costs). Costs were higher amongst patients tested at the hospital clinic than those tested at the community clinic. Improvements in quality-of-life across all psychological topics, and improved TTR, were seen following the introduction of self-testing. Results of the cost-effectiveness analysis showed that the redesigned treatment pathway was less costly and more effective than current practice. Conclusions: Allowing AF patients on warfarin to self-test, rather than attend clinic to have their anticoagulation status assessed, has the potential to reduce patient costs. Additionally, self-testing may result in improved quality-of-life and TTR. Introducing genetic testing to guide patient treatment based on sensitivity to warfarin, and applying this in combination with self-testing, may also result in improved patient outcomes and reduced costs to the health service in the long-term.




Moloney, E., Craig, D., Holdsworth, N., & Smithson, J. (2019). Optimising clinical effectiveness and quality along the atrial fibrillation anticoagulation pathway: An economic analysis. BMC Health Services Research, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-019-4841-3

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