Many participants have found real-time ways to identify patients who are not on prophylaxis but should be. At many sites, identification begins with a report generated by the hospital’s inpatient pharmacy service, which typically shows the anti-coagulation regimen for each patient in a given hospital ward. The floor pharmacist or nurse can identify who is not on prophylaxis, assess risk factors and contraindications, and act to mitigate the situation—for example, by placing a call to the patient’s attending physician. Other sites have developed more sophisticated reports that capture information about relative risk for DVT and the absence or presence of contraindications to pharmacologic prophylaxis; these features reduce the effort required to investigate each case.
How to Learn More
The Quality Track at the 2008 Annual Meeting (April 3-5 at the Manchester Hyatt, San Diego, Calif.) includes a session on the “VTE Collaborative Experience” (1-2:25 p.m. April 4). Drs. Maynard and Stein will discuss the initiative, as will collaborative members, who will describe key successes and innovations that furthered their efforts to establish effective VTE prevention programs. Questions about the VTEPC and the Annual Meeting session can be directed to [email protected].
Update on Hand-Offs
SHM task force continues to refine transitions-of-care checklist
by Shannon Roach
Among hospitalists and other organizations, there has been an increasing interest surrounding the improvement of the quality of patient care, especially within transitions of care and patient discharge. As the leader in the hospital medicine field, SHM continues to support and lead initiatives for the improvement of care as related to patient discharge and transitions. Last year’s creation of the Hand-Offs Communication Task Force (HCTF) has upheld SHM’s position of being dedicated to the promotion of the highest quality care for all hospitalized patients.
Derived from members of the Hospital Quality and Patient Safety Committee and the Education Committee, this task force was led by Vineet Arora, MD, MA, assistant professor of medicine, University of Chicago. Collaborating with her were Preetha Basaviah, MD, clinical instructor, Stanford University Medical Center in Calif.; Dan Dressler, MD, instructor of medicine, Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta; Lakshmi Halasyamani, MD, associate chairperson of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, an instructor at Emory University in Atlanta; and Efren Manjarrez, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami.
This team set out to create a formally recognized set of recommendations for ensuring optimum communication and continuity of care at the end of a medical professional’s shift or a patient’s change in service.
The task force’s first step was to determine what information was available as a basis for these recommendations. Though data were limited, the group decided that recommendations for effective hand-offs would be broken into three categories: program policy, verbal exchange, and content exchange.
As the need for more evidence-based data for the improvement of in-hospital hand-offs became clear, the group decided a valuable follow-up approach for these recommendations would be to incorporate a research agenda into the findings. This proposal suggests a need for a rigorous evaluation of these recommendations, with an emphasis on controlled interventions. It also encourages the development of patient-based outcomes sensitive to hand-off quality.