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Implement Sci


BACKGROUND: Patients on chronic warfarin therapy require regular laboratory monitoring to safely manage warfarin. Recent studies have challenged the need for routine monthly blood draws in the most stable warfarin-treated patients, suggesting the safety of less frequent laboratory testing (up to every 12 weeks). De-implementation efforts aim to reduce the use of low-value clinical practices. To explore barriers and facilitators of a de-implementation effort to reduce the use of frequent laboratory tests for patients with stable warfarin management in nurse/pharmacist-run anticoagulation clinics, we performed a mixed-methods study conducted within a state-wide collaborative quality improvement collaborative.

METHODS: Using a mixed-methods approach, we conducted post-implementation semi-structured interviews with a total of eight anticoagulation nurse or pharmacist staff members at five participating clinic sites to assess barriers and facilitators to de-implementing frequent international normalized ratio (INR) laboratory testing among patients with stable warfarin control. Interview guides were based on the Tailored Implementation for Chronic Disease (TICD) framework. Informed by interview themes, a survey was developed and administered to all anticoagulation clinical staff (n = 62) about their self-reported utilization of less frequent INR testing and specific barriers to de-implementing the standard (more frequent) INR testing practice.

RESULTS: From the interviews, four themes emerged congruent with TICD domains: (1) staff overestimating their actual use of less frequent INR testing (individual health professional factors), (2) barriers to appropriate patient engagement (incentives and resources), (3) broad support for an electronic medical record flag to identify potentially eligible patients (incentives and resources), and (4) the importance of personalized nurse/pharmacist feedback (individual health professional factors). In the survey (65% response rate), staff report offering less frequent INR testing to 56% (46-66%) of eligible patients. Most survey responders (n = 24; 60%) agreed that an eligibility flag in the electronic medical record would be very helpful. Twenty-four (60%) respondents agreed that periodic, personalized feedback on use of less frequent INR testing would also be helpful.

CONCLUSIONS: Leveraging information system notifications, reducing additional work load burden for participating patients and providers, and providing personalized feedback are strategies that may improve adoption and utilization new policies in anticoagulation clinics that focus on de-implementation.

Medical Subject Headings

Anticoagulants; Attitude of Health Personnel; Clinical Laboratory Services; Female; Humans; International Normalized Ratio; Interviews as Topic; Male; Medical Overuse; Nurses; Pharmacists; Quality Improvement; Warfarin

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