• anticoagulation management;
  • cost-effectiveness analysis;
  • decision analytic model;
  • warfarin

OBJECTIVE: To examine the cost-effectiveness of moving from usual care to more organized management strategies for patients on chronic warfarin therapy.

DESIGN: Using information available in the scientific literature, supplemented with data from a large health system and, when necessary, expert opinion, we constructed a 5-year Markov model to evaluate the health and economic outcomes associated with each of three different anticoagulation management approaches: usual care, anticoagulation clinic testing with a capillary monitor, and patient self-testing with a capillary monitor.

PATIENTS: Three hypothetical cohorts of patients beginning long-term warfarin therapy were used to generate model results.

MAIN RESULTS: Model results indicated that moving from usual care to anticoagulation clinic testing would result in a total of 1.7 thromboembolic events and 2.0 hemorrhagic events avoided per 100 patients over 5 years. Another 4.0 thromboembolic events and 0.8 hemorrhagic events would be avoided by moving to patient self-testing. When direct medical care costs and those incurred by patients and their caregivers in receiving care were considered, patient self-testing was the most cost-effective alternative, resulting in an overall cost saving.

CONCLUSIONS: Results illustrate the potential health and economic benefits of organized care management approaches and capillary monitors in the management of patients receiving warfarin therapy.