Drive-up testing now available for Mayo Clinic anticoagulation patients

New Mayo clinic opens in Arcadia

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Mayo Clinic Health System is offering drive-up services fro anticoagulation patients.

Anticoagulation clinics at Mayo Clinic Health System serve patients who are on warfarin (Coumadin), a medication that prevents blood clots. Anticoagulation patients are seen to manage their doses of warfarin. A blood sample is collected to determine these patients’ international normalized ratio (INR).

Since this sample is taken in the clinic, patient visits require registration, waiting time and time in an exam room. The frequency of patient visits is determined by the stability of their international normalized ratio. Patients taking warfarin have a diagnosis of a cardiovascular condition, such as a history of blood clots, atrial fibrillation, stroke or valve replacement. By nature of their chronic conditions, these patients are considered to be high-risk if they are exposed to COVID-19.

“Patients began calling, expressing they were concerned about entering the clinic and being exposed to the general public,” says Gina VonRuden, a nurse manager at Mayo Clinic Health System in Onalaska. “Canceling appointments for anticoagulation patients is very concerning because if a patient’s INR is not measured, they are at an increased risk of a bleeding or clotting event.”

Front-line staff suggested implementing drive-up testing. Nursing staff are calling patients to educate them about the process, directing them where to park and instructing them to call in when they arrive for their appointments. Patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to arrival.

When a patient arrives at the drive-up testing location, a nurse comes to the vehicle, obtains the sample and briefly asks necessary health screening questions. This process keeps the patient from entering the clinic and decreases contact time to approximately five minutes.

“Patient responses have been very positive to this new process,” says VonRuden. “I received a phone call with the message, ‘Thank you for ensuring my husband receives safe care to manage his warfarin.’ Staff response was immediate, and people were asking what we needed to get this up and running. Nursing was concerned that we would have patients not coming in for care due to fear of being exposed to the general public. We wanted to make sure we were doing everything we can to support our patients.”

VonRuden reminds patients if they see this drive-up testing location, it’s not a testing site for COVID-19.

“This process is another example of Mayo Clinic’s primary value: The needs of the patient come first. We are using innovation to bring the necessary care to patients in these uncertain times, with the goal of protecting their safety,” adds VonRuden.