Illinois Facility Uses AHRQ Blood Thinner Booklet for Patient Education Program

Patient Safety
September 2011

OSF Medical Group-a part of OSF HealthCare, a health network in Illinois and Michigan-uses AHRQ's booklet, Staying Active and Healthy With Blood Thinners, as part of an educational program that helps patients safely manage their anticoagulation therapy and overall health.

The booklets were distributed to some 500 members of the Anticoagulation Forum in 2010. Anticoagulation Forum member OSF Medical Group soon began using them in its primary care anticoagulation clinics in five regions and in one of OSF's hospitals. In 2011, OSF Medical Group also started using the booklets in its Northern Illinois cardiovascular service anticoagulation clinics. OSF anticoagulation clinics care for approximately 3,800 patients.

"We use the AHRQ patient booklets in our anticoagulation clinics and also in our hospital. We had developed our own, but decided to switch to AHRQ's for several reasons—one of them being that it was available in Spanish. We find the booklets to be at a very nice reading level, providing very clear and good information," explains Susan Winterbauer, MSNA-PMC, FNP-BC, Safety/Quality/Accreditation Specialist at OSF Medical Group. "Another deciding factor for switching to the AHRQ booklet is that we know AHRQ regularly reviews its materials and keeps them updated."

OSF's hospital also has a link in its electronic medical record that connects directly to the AHRQ anticoagulation education pamphlet. "This way, it is available for the nurses to print when they do their warfarin teaching," Winterbauer says.

The brochure and accompanying DVD help patients better understand anticoagulation therapy and how to manage it effectively. The tools are designed to complement the education that patients receive in their doctor's office, clinic, pharmacy, or hospital. The one-on-one training at OSF's facilities includes discussion about the importance of followup monitoring, compliance issues, dietary considerations, the potential for adverse drug reactions and interactions, and how to recognize potential emergency situations related to anticoagulation therapy.

According to Winterbauer, the booklets are a useful educational tool to enhance understanding of the variables that can affect therapy, particularly in helping patients who have had difficulty with their anticoagulation management.

Patients who are managed by anticoagulation clinics tend to experience fewer adverse events, including bleeding and blood clots, as well as fewer hospital visits resulting from these complications. "We have demonstrated that patients remain within therapeutic range longer, as measured by time in therapeutic INR [international normalized ratio] range, when they are regularly seen by the anticoagulation clinics," Winterbauer notes.

OSF Medical Group is part of OSF HealthCare, a comprehensive network of health care facilities, services, physicians, and employees in Illinois and Michigan. With more than 60 locations, OSF Medical Group includes more than 200 physicians and other providers and 800-plus employees.

The AHRQ booklet and video can be downloaded at

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Staying Active and Healthy With Blood Thinners
Topics(s): Chronic Care: Self-Management, Blood Thinners
Geographic Location: Illinois, Michigan
Implementer: OSF Medical Group
Date: 09/01/2011

Blood Thinner Pills: Your Guide to Using Them Safely. August 2010. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Page last reviewed October 2014