Virginia Clinic Uses AHRQ Materials to Educate Patients About Blood Thinners

Patient Safety
March 2012

VCU Health Systems' anticoagulation clinic in Richmond, Virginia, is using AHRQ's DVD "Staying Active and Healthy With Blood Thinners" as part of an educational program that helps patients safely manage their anticoagulation therapy and overall health. VCU Health Systems is part of Virginia Commonwealth University.

The DVDs were distributed to some 500 members of the Anticoagulation Forum in 2010. Forum member VCU Health Systems soon began using it in some of its acute care areas and in its primary care anticoagulation clinic, which cares for approximately 200 patients.

"Because of the limited health literacy of our patient population, we started using the patient education video on the safe use of blood thinners for outpatient and inpatient education. It has been a great tool, because patients are able to comprehend more and relate to the patient in the video," says Adraine Lawrence Lyles, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Primary Care, at VCU Health Systems. Lyles serves as a provider in the anticoagulation clinic and as a member of the hospital's Anticoagulation Safety Committee.

The video helps patients better understand anticoagulation therapy and how to manage it effectively. It is designed to complement education that patients receive in their doctor's office, clinic, pharmacy, or hospital. The one-on-one training at VCU Health Systems' clinics includes discussion about drug interactions, diet, and the importance of medication adherence—factors that can dramatically alter the effects of anticoagulation therapy.

Lyles notes, "The blood thinner video gives patients some realistic examples of situations they may face while on anticoagulant therapy. We believe that the use of the video in our patient population has been helpful in improving patients' understanding and comprehension, especially due to the limited health literacy of our clinic patients." 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. Patients' blood tests remain in appropriate ranges longer when they are regularly seen by the anticoagulation clinics.

The 779-bed VCU Medical Center is the region's only Level I Trauma Center. The center offers nearly 200 specialty areas.

The 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, Prescription Drugs, Blood Thinners
Geographic Location: Virginia
Implementer: VCU Health System
Date: 03/01/2012
Page last reviewed October 2014