PORTALS: design of the anticoagulation study

For the monitoring of International Normalized Ratio (INR) values, venous thromboembolism (VTE) and atrial fibrillation (AF) patients can visit anticoagulation clinics, laboratories, or physicians for venous puncture. Point-of-care testing (POCT) made it possible for patients to monitor INR themselves (self-monitoring) and even self-adjust their medication dosage (self-dosage). Both skills are accepted as forms of self-management. eHealth applications can improve this self-management, resulting in better clinical outcomes.

Our study, called PORTALS, aims at identifying the optimal implementation strategy of training to improve self-management and explore factors that enhance good self-management skills. In addition, the relationship between the implementation strategy of training, clinical outcomes, and individual characteristics will be investigated. Of the 247 recruited participants, 110 chose to continue with regular care. 137 patients have been randomly divided in subgroups and compared using a parallel cohort design: one group will be trained and educated by e-learning, and the other group will receive face-to-face group training.

More insight in factors that enhance good self-management will help to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction on anticoagulation therapy. Our study will provide practical insights and knowledge of eHealth in daily practice and of the importance of education on the adoption of self-management. We expect the self-management program including training to help patients to better manage their own INR values and medication use, thereby increasing health status and diminishing thromboembolic events and hospitalisation.