Evidence that the use of and indications for oral anticoagulation therapy were rapidly expanding; that oral anticoagulation therapy was not always well managed; and that serious adverse events were commonplace led Jack Ansell, MD to found the AC Forum. At this time, evidence also accumulated that the systematic, coordinated care provided by anticoagulation services, resulted in improved safety and efficacy of therapy leading to better patient outcomes.
In order to promote coordinated management of oral anticoagulant therapy, the Anticoagulation Forum was established as a community of physicians, nurses and pharmacists involved in the therapeutic modality of oral anticoagulation therapy and the management of thrombotic disorders. Through the process of information exchange, medical education and scientific investigation, the Anticoagulation Forum promotes professional development and strives to enhance the quality of anticoagulation care.
Starting with a few dozen members, the organization has grown exponentially to its current size. Currently led by president, Scott Kaatz, DO, MSc, FACP, SFHM, the AC Forum continues to be an important source of information and education for its membership. The AC Forum has played an integral role in educating its members about these new anticoagulant therapies, reversal agents and testing choices.
The AC Forum has been an advocate for improved patient care through its endorsement of the use of an International Normalized Ratio (INR) to report prothrombin time results and with its strong support of point-of-care prothrombin time monitoring and the concept of patient self-testing and patient self-management. The AC Forum has worked with the U.S. government to develop reimbursement protocols for the elderly covered through the U.S. Medicare system. More recently, the AC Forum has been a supporter of home treatment of venous thromboembolism with low molecular weight heparin using anticoagulation clinics as the base for overseeing home treatment programs.
In its efforts to enhance the quality of anticoagulation care, the Anticoagulation Forum
- Published three guideline papers establishing guidelines for anticoagulation clinics:
- Nutescu et al, Delivery of optimized inpatient anticoagulation therapy: consensus statement from the Anticoagulation Forum. Ann Paramacother2013; 47
- Ansell JE, Buttaro ML, Voltis-Thomas O, Knowlton C. Consensus guidelines for coordinated outpatient oral anticoagulation therapy management. Ann Pharmacother 1997; 31:604-615; > PubMed reference
- Garcia et al, Delivery of optimized anticoagulant therapy: consensus statement from the Anticoagulation Forum. Ann Pharmacother 2008; 42: 979-988. > PubMed reference
- Promotes the appropriate monitoring of anticoagulation through the use of International Normalized Ratio (INR);
- Encourages the expanded use of anticoagulation for established indications (atrial fibrillation);
- Developed guidelines for the certification of anticoagulation providers;
- Lobbied third-party payers to appropriately reimburse healthcare providers for the management of therapy;
- Promotes the use of point-of-care monitoring for home monitoring of anticoagulation therapy (patient self-testing/self-management);
- Collaborated in the development of guidelines for the implementation of patient self-testing/self-management (Ansell J, Hasenkam JM, Voller H, Jacobson A, Levy J. Guidelines for implementation of patient self-testing and patient self-management of oral anticoagulation. Internet J Cardiology 2004;99:37-45); > PubMed reference
- Advocated for improved reimbursement of patient self-monitoring;
- Maintains an active website including an on-line resource to locate an anticoagulation clinic anywhere in the world (www.acforum.org);
- Organizes and promotes a biennial national educational conference on antithrombotic therapy and serves as a venue for the publication of original research related to anticoagulation care.
- Publishes a monthly newsletter
- Produces a monthly webinar series where guest authors and panelists present their recent research in an interactive platform where attendees can interact with the leaders in anticoagulant therapy
- Developed a Grand Rounds program which brings experts to community based hospitals to improve the care provided to anticoagulated patients.
- Developed and maintains a national resource and recognition program called the Anticoagulation Centers of Excellence. This web based program provides services the opportunity to evaluate their practice against a standard of excellence while also making available a resource data base of hundreds of anticoagulation related materials. These resources help guide a practice through self-improvement which will lead to a designation as an Anticoagulation Center of Excellence.