In the late 1980s several factors arose that led to the development of a national network of anticoagulation clinics in the United States. These included evidence that the use 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. At this time, evidence also accumulated that the systematic care provided by an anticoagulation clinic (ACC) resulted in improved safety and efficacy of therapy leading to better patient outcomes compared to the usual care of such patients.
In order to promote coordinated management of oral anticoagulation through the model of anticoagulation clinics, the Anticoagulation Forum (ACF) was established as a network of professionals involved in direct patient care in the setting of an ACC. The Anticoagulation Forum is a network 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.
Since its founding by Jack Ansell, MD, in 1991, the Anticoagulation Forum has grown considerably. Starting with a few dozen members, the organization has grown to over 4500 members representing over 1500 anticoagulation clinics throughout the world. Currently led by president David Garcia, MD, the ACF continues to be an important source of information and education for its expanding membership.
Through the years, the ACF has been an advocate for improved patient care. Beginning in the early 1990s, the ACF strongly endorsed the use of an International Normalized Ratio (INR) to report prothrombin time results. It continues to be a strong supporter of point-of-care prothrombin time monitoring and the concept of patient self-testing and patient self-management. The ACF has worked with the U.S. government to develop reimbursement schemes for the elderly who are covered through the U.S. Medicare system. More recently, the ACF has been a supporter of home treatment of venous thromboembolism with low molecular weight heparin since anticoagulation clinics are in an ideal position to be the focal point for overseeing home treatment programs. The ACF has also been active in educating its members about new anticoagulant therapies.
Specifically, in its efforts to enhance the quality of anticoagulation care, the Anticoagulation Forum has:
Although the Anticoagulation Forum has not directly engaged in research, it serves as a conduit to channel research studies to interested participants. Access to the ACF network and its interface with hundreds of thousands of patients is a fertile resource for answering questions and solving problems related to anticoagulation therapy.
The highlight of the Anticoagulation Forum’s educational efforts is its biannual education and research conference. Beginning in 1991, the ACF has organized ten major national conferences held throughout the United States. Besides organizing an international roster of speakers recognized as experts in the field, the conference also provides a venue for ACF members to present the results of important new research.
Other functions of the Anticoagulation Forum include an active website, a newsletter which is published 3 times per year, and ad hoc assistance to individuals requesting advice regarding policies and procedures of an anticoagulation clinic. The Anticoagulation Forum is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. The ACF is funded primarily by unrestricted educational grants. There is no charge for members to join the Forum.
The Anticoagulation Forum Board of Directors consists of twelve individuals representing the medical, nursing and pharmacy professions.