Medication chart intervention improves inpatient thromboembolism prophylaxis

Chest. 2012 Mar;141(3):632-641. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-3162. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


Background: Inpatient VTE prophylaxis is underused. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the low-cost, multifaceted Australian National Inpatient Medication Chart (NIMC) intervention on improving the quality of VTE prophylaxis and reducing disease. The NIMC intervention incorporated (1) a VTE risk stratification and appropriate prophylaxis guidance tool, (2) a prophylaxis contraindication screening instrument, and (3) a prophylaxis prescription prompt.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of 2,371 consecutive medical and surgical admissions was performed at a regional referral hospital over 1 year both before and after the intervention. Outcomes measured included the frequency of prophylaxis use, timing of prophylaxis initiation, adherence of the prescribed prophylaxis regimen to guidelines, incidence of VTE disease, and prophylaxis-related complications.

Results: Following NIMC intervention, prophylaxis use increased from 52.7% to 66.5% in medical patients and from 77.5% to 89.1% in surgical patients (P < .001). This increase was still evident 12 months postintervention. After intervention, prophylaxis initiated on admission increased from 65.0% to 83.6% in medical patients and from 60.7% to 78.0% in surgical patients (P < .01); adherence rates to recommended guidelines increased from 55.6% to 71.0% in medical patients and from 53.6% to 75.6% in surgical patients (P < .01). More VTE risk factors independently triggered prophylaxis usage postintervention. The improved quality of prophylaxis did not significantly reduce VTE incidence (risk ratio, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.48-1.62). The rate of prophylaxis-related complications remained similar before and after intervention.

Conclusions: The multifaceted NIMC intervention resulted in a sustained increase in appropriate and timely VTE prophylaxis in medical and surgical inpatients.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Protocols / standards*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inpatients*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Medication Systems, Hospital / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*
  • Venous Thromboembolism / therapy


  • Anticoagulants