The AntiCoagulation Self Monitoring Alliance (ACSMA) is campaigning for greater choice for people on warfarin about how their condition should be managed. ACSMA’s goal is to empower people - wherever possible those on long term warfarin should have the choice about whether to self-test or self-manage their treatment. We believe that this change would enable improved health outcomes and save time and money for both people and the NHS.
Who are we?
ACSMA comprises four of the UK’s leading charities and patient groups – AntiCoagulation Europe; the Children’s Heart Federation; the AF Association; the Mechanical Heart Valve Support Group - that exist to provide advice, support and guidance to patients on oral anticoagulation therapy, as well as their families and healthcare professionals. Healthcare company Roche is also part of the alliance.
Why is this necessary?
People on long-term warfarin need to have regular blood tests to check their internationalised normal ratio (INR), or the level of clotting tendency. These blood tests are usually conducted in an anticoagulation clinic, usually in a hospital or GP surgery. The time needed to regularly go to a clinic can quickly begin to affect patient’s personal and professional lives; whether they are in full time work, full time parents or students. The ACSMA campaign isn’t just about informing and educating patients; it’s also about educating healthcare professionals, parliamentarians and policy-makers about the benefits that self-monitoring offers to patients and the NHS alike. ACSMA is using a wide variety of methods and routes to educate and inform all of these audiences: from a website and Twitter account, through to regular newsletters and infographics, parliamentary drop-in sessions, meetings with policy-makers and media activity.
Benefits of self-monitoring
There are more than 1.2 million people  in the UK on warfarin, but fewer than two per cent of them currently benefit from self-monitoring, despite evidence that it can cut the risk of death by nearly two-fifths and more than halve the risk of strokes. If just one in four were to self-test at home, it is estimated it could save the NHS about £62 million a year. People who self-monitor use a portable INR tester to take a simple finger prick blood test. The test is quick, taking only one minute and they can report the readings to their healthcare professional. Self-monitoring allows people to no longer feel like patients and to regain a degree of independence and freedom as it means they can self-test their INR levels wherever they may be and at their convenience.
How can I get involved?
If you are a patient on warfarin therapy, or the carer of someone who is, you can help the ACSMA campaign by completing a very short survey. The survey is totally anonymous and takes only 5-10 minutes to complete. Click below to be taken directly to the survey:
To pledge your support for ACSMA’s campaign to ensure patients on long-term warfarin are able to discuss and learn about the option of self-monitoring and to help ACSMA reach its objective of ensuring INR self-monitoring technology is available, accessible and on prescription through the NHS for eligible patients, please sign up at www.acsma.org.uk
 Connock M, Stevens C, Fry-Smith A, Jowett S, Fitzmaurice D, Moore D, et al. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different models of managing long-term oral anticoagulation therapy: a systematic review and economic modelling [online]. Health Technol.Assess. 2007 ix-66; Oct;11(38):iii-iv, ix-66
 Gardiner et.al. Patient self-testing is a reliable and acceptable alternative to laboratory monitoring. Br J Haem 2004; 128:242-47
 Office for National Statistics 2008. Accessed 16 June 2011
 Roche. Data on file.
 Heneghan C et al. Self-monitoring of oral anticoagulation: a systematic
review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2006;367(9508):404-11.
 Connock M, Stevens C, Fry-Smith A, Jowett S, Fitzmaurice D, Moore D, et al. Clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different models of managing long-term oral anticoagulation therapy: a systematic review and economic modelling [online].Health Technol.Assess. 2007 ix-66; Oct;11(38):iii-iv, ix-66