Friday, November 4, 2011
INR and warfarin tests for travellers
Procedures for INR testing by country , and
Tips for finding doctors and pathology services when travelling
I have set this site up following a recent visit that I made to the USA, from Australia. I was in the USA and Canada for 6 weeks, and needed at least 2 tests for INR Warfarin during this time. In Canada, the procedure was reasonably straight forward, but it was a nightmare in the USA.First a bit of background - I had spent some time on the web prior to departure trying to figure out locations, procedures and costs in the US and Canada, but got little value from the information available.
Another problem turned out to be the different terminology between countries. In Australia, you go to a Pathology Laboratory for INR testing, but Pathology labs in the US and Canada are virtually all Speech Pathology related. Apparently in the US and Canada and other countries you need a Medical Laboratory or Clinical Laboratory or Diagnostic Laboratory for INR tests - and they proved hard to find easily. On this blog and the INR Warafrin website (see above), l have generally tried to use the term Pathology Laboratory to cover all types
I took with me to the US all of my medical records, my recent INR tests, and a referral from my Australian doctor. All of which proved useless. When I arrived in Canada, I was advised that I needed to get a local doctor's referral for an INR test - the cost for about 3 minutes with the doctor was $90 Canadian. The INR test was then done at a Clinical Laboratory only a short distance from the doctor's, and the cost of that was about $20 Canadian.
In the US I found it almost impossible to find a centre which could test me, and finally found one on the web, which turned out to be a local hospital. When I went in for an INR. they admitted me(!), wrist band and all(!), and after waiting in Emergency (!) reception for about 3 hours, they took my blood, and they did the test at that site. The bill for the hospital and doctors exceeded $US800, and the INR test was about $20 US!!! Total time with doctors about 5 minutes.
So this blog and the INR Warfarin website has been set up to assist overseas traveller's in the procedures and likely costs for INR testing