Digital health specialist Inhealthcare is bringing to market the first self-testing mobile app for warfarin users that connects directly to doctors.
The Harrogate, North Yorkshire-based company has designed the app to give users greater choice and convenience.
Previously, patients could use automated telephone calls or log on to the internet to send their readings to clinicians via the company’s technology.
With the new app, they will be able to use their mobile phone or tablet. It is available now in Apple and Google app stores.
Warfarin is the main anticoagulant drug in Britain and is prescribed to patients to prevent them having blood clots.
It is typically given to people who have suffered a heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.
Warfarin is also used by people who have prosthetic heart valves or atrial fibrillation.
Users must take regular blood tests to make sure their dose is correct and have to attend a warfarin clinic an average of 14 times a year.
Inhealthcare launched a self-testing service in County Durham three years ago which reduced the average number of clinic visits to twice a year and increased the amount of time patients spend in ideal therapeutic range.
The INR self-testing service for warfarin users is available in County Durham, Wigan, Ilkley, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire and Hull.
Bryn Sage, chief executive at Inhealthcare, said:
This is yet another communications channel for our self-testing service.
For digital health to work at scale, it needs to be accessible and inclusive. A lot of our development work has been to ensure that older people who are less confident using new technology are able to benefit from the increased freedom that digital health can bring.
This new app is for the smartphone natives who lead busy lives and are always connected to the internet. Inhealthcare is constantly innovating as a company to bring free healthcare to people through the channels they want and expect to use.
Instead of going to a clinic for a day, patients will be able to take their own readings and send their personal data safely and securely to their GPs via their smartphone.
We are bridging the gap between their expectations as 21st century consumers and a healthcare system still rooted in the 20th century.
The registered charity AntiCoagulation Europe welcomed the new app.
Eve Knight, co-founder and chief executive, said:
AntiCoagulation UK is proud to be working with Inhealthcare to ensure that people who take warfarin have access to INR self-monitoring that is safe, effective and fits in with their lifestyle.
The launch of the new app is a huge step forward ensuring the secure sharing of data direct to the clinician.
Digital technology is the way forward for patients and for the NHS and INR self-monitoring is a first-class example of how it works.
Patients also welcomed the launch of the app.
Martin Smith, a 59-year-old who founded and runs a successful marketing business, has been taking warfarin for the last six years since suffering a heart attack.
Before starting to self-test, he used to visit the warfarin clinic in Ilkley, West Yorkshire every fortnight or month.
I’m a big advocate for warfarin as it has allowed me to extend my working life. I welcome self-testing because it allows me to juggle my work obligations as well as my personal life and also plan our holidays. It just works for me.
Self-testing has allowed me to understand how warfarin works and helps me to stay in the ideal therapeutic range to keep myself as fit and healthy as possible. My readings are more consistent. It also helps me to follow a good diet and reminds me to avoid food and drink that cause reactions like broccoli and cranberries.
Previously it was a fortnight or a month between clinics and a fair bit can happen in that period. Now I can just test myself and ring the nurse for any advice.
This new app is really positive for anybody that is still actively working. It is so portable. I can test myself on the train going up and down from London.