Patient Care

Tailored Health IT Improves VTE Rates


Electronic decision support significantly improves VTE prophylaxis and hospital-acquired VTE rates, according to a new study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

The report, "Improving Hospital Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis With Electronic Decision Report," saw overall medical service prophylaxis rise to 82.1% from 61.9% (P<0.001) and pharmacologic VTE prophylaxis increase to 74.5% from 59% (P<0.001).

"Healthcare leaders talk about information technology (IT) as a means toward effecting improvements in quality and patient safety and, most of the time, they view that and discuss that in terms of the actual IT system being implemented," says lead author Rohit Bhalla, MD, MPH, associate professor of clinical medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. "What our intervention really got to was once you've implemented an IT system ... how can it be modified, vis-à-vis decision support, so that it provides an even better result than you get with the product that comes out of the box."

Tailoring a health IT system to improve outcomes requires interdisciplinary work that includes quality officers, physicians, IT staff, and programmers. Hospitalist and fellow author Jason Adelman, MD, MS, patient safety officer at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., where the study was conducted, says that the research can help generate future buy-in from physicians who don't value electronic decision support tools.

It can "ease the swallowing of the bitter pill to know that it really makes a difference," Dr. Adelman says. "Don't be up in arms when you're forced to do something a little bit extra, because it really works."

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