Improving adherence to best-practice guidelines for venous thromboembolism risk assessment and prevention

November 2011
American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy;11/15/2011, Vol. 68 Issue 22, p2184
Academic Journal
Case Study
Purpose. The effectiveness of a program to improve adherence to best-practice guidelines for venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk assessment and prevention in a community hospital setting was evaluated. Summary. Variation in the use of best-practice guidelines for VTE risk assessment and prevention with regard to the frequency of VTE risk assessment and the risk score assigned, as well as the communication of the risk of VTE and the need for prophylaxis to treating physicians, was found. To improve adherence to established guidelines, the responsibilities of a nurse case manager were expanded to serve as a single point of contact who was accountable for identifying high-risk patients and advocating for appropriate pharmacologic prophylaxis in the absence of contraindications. To facilitate the role of the nurse case manager, an automated VTE-risk-assessment tool was developed to reliably identify high-risk patients in real time. This intervention was evaluated from January 1 to June 30, 2010. Before the intervention, contraindications to anticoagulation were reported for 19.1% of high-risk patients not receiving prophylaxis and pharmacologic prophylaxis was ordered for 47.9% of highrisk patients without contraindications. During the course of the intervention, contraindications to anticoagulation were reported for 36.2% of high-risk patients not receiving prophylaxis and pharmacologic prophylaxis was ordered for 64.9% of highrisk patients without contraindications. Conclusion. The appointment of a nurse case manager trained in anticoagulation and the development of an automated VTE-risk-assessment tool to identify patients at high risk of VTE were associated with improved adherence to best-practice guidelines for VTE risk assessment and prevention.


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