Banner Good Samaritan Battles VTE in Real Time


Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix is combating hospital-acquired VTE with a quality initiative that uses risk-assessment tools and order sets embedded in the electronic health record (EHR) and real-time interventions with physicians.

Cases of hospital-acquired VTE are identified as they occur and assessed for whether they were preventable, says Lori Porter, DO, academic hospitalist and team leader for Banner Good Samaritan's VTE Committee. "If we think the VTE was preventable, we will call the provider and say, 'Can you tell me why you think this happened?'" she says. (Check out more information about Banner Good Samaritan’s VTE program at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement website.)

The program emphasizes risk re-assessment, appropriate use of extended prophylaxis, and involvement of Banner's house staff. All four hospitalist services at Banner Good Samaritan have been receptive to using the order sets.

Banner Good Samaritan's results include a drop in preventable hospital-acquired VTEs to 25% in 2011 from 45% in 2009, along with a 29% relative risk reduction in DVT and 18% in pulmonary embolism.

The hospital belongs to SHM's VTE Prevention Collaborative, and works with mentor Gregory Maynard, MD, MSc, SFHM, senior vice president of SHM's Center for Healthcare Improvement and Innovation. It uses what Dr. Porter calls "a simple, three-bucket system" for assessing and classifying risk level, derived from the 2008 antithrombotic therapy guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). However, in February, ACCP issued a new edition of the guidelines, which Dr. Porter has not been eager to embrace.

"They've gone back to a conservative point-scoring system for risk assessment, which seems cumbersome in clinical practice. If a simpler approach has proven to be effective for us, then why commit to making a complicated change?" says Dr. Porter.

Dr. Maynard agrees that the new antithrombotic guidelines have sparked differences of opinion. Dr. Porter's teams, for example, "use the simpler three-bucket model with good results: better prophylaxis, decrease in VTE, and no discernible increase in bleeding," he says. "Improvement teams that want to mimic these results should look at this model, in addition to the models outlined in the ninth edition, and see which models their doctors and nurses would actually use reliably."

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