Background: Care coordination between general practitioners (GPs) and cardiovascular specialists is expected to play a key role in establishing appropriate oral anticoagulant (OAC) treatment in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of care coordination on oral anticoagulant therapy in the management of AF in Japan. Methods: This study was a multi-center, single-arm, prospective cohort study with retrospective chart and claims data review for historical controls. The study included three study periods: a 12-month pre-campaign period; a 12-month campaign period for AF screening and care coordination; and a 3-month post-campaign period for follow-up of care coordination. During the campaign period, patients aged ≥65 years who attended participating GP clinics underwent opportunistic AF screening by GPs under the campaign. At the discretion of the GP, newly diagnosed AF patients after the screening were referred to a cardiovascular specialist for care coordination. To assess the impact of care coordination and evaluate the effects of the campaign, implementation of care coordination, antithrombotic therapies, and patient-reported outcomes were compared between patients with and without care coordination, and between patients during the pre-campaign and campaign periods. Results: There were 86 newly diagnosed AF patients during the pre-campaign period and 90 during the campaign period. The percentage of patients with care coordination increased from 3.5% (3/86) in the pre-campaign period to 14.4% (n = 13/90) during the campaign period. The percentage of patients who received OAC therapies, according to the definition from the Japanese AF medication guideline, increased from 55.8% (48/86) to 71.1% (64/90) during the campaign period regardless of care coordination. Younger patients were referred to cardiovascular specialists for care coordination. Implementation of OAC therapy did not differ between patients with and without care coordination. Adherence to OAC therapy was low regardless of care coordination. Conclusions: This GP-targeted campaign was effective at raising awareness regarding the implementation of care coordination and appropriate OAC therapy at local clinical practices in Japan. Improvement of adherence to OAC therapy in elderly patients is a critical issue, and measures such as education programs targeted to patients and healthcare professionals should be undertaken.
- Aging society
- Atrial fibrillation
- Care coordination
- Opportunistic screening in primary care
- Regional medical care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine