SUPPORT-AF III: supporting use of AC through provider prompting about oral anticoagulation therapy for AF

J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2021 Oct;52(3):808-816. doi: 10.1007/s11239-021-02420-8. Epub 2021 Mar 10.


Only half of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients with elevated stroke risk receive anticoagulation (AC). Electronic health record (EHR) alerts have the potential to close the gap. We designed an outpatient EHR alert (linked to an order set for ordering AC, labs, and specialty referrals) that fired when cardiology and primary care providers (PCPs) saw AF patients not on AC. We assigned all untreated patients seen by cardiology providers and PCPs in the 8 months before and after the alert launch to pre- and post-launch intervention cohorts, respectively. Untreated AF patients seeing other types of providers became controls. We then compared the difference in AC starts between intervention and control patients post-launch to the same difference prelaunch (adjusting for covariates). We measured alert responsiveness as how often patients had at least one encounter with a provider, who interacted with the alert. The adjusted percentage of AC starts for the prelaunch cohort was 20% for intervention patients and 17% for controls (difference = 3%); post-launch, the percentage was 13% for both post-launch intervention and controls (difference = 0%). The difference in difference was - 3% (p value 0.63). For half of patients, at least one provider was responsive to our alert. Reasons for no AC commonly included relative contraindications (e.g. fall, gastrointestinal bleed). Our alert did not increase AC starts but responsiveness to it was high. Increasing AC starts will likely require education surrounding relative contraindications.

Keywords: Anticoagulation; Atrial fibrillation; Clinical studies; Electronic medical record; Practice management; Quality and outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / drug therapy
  • Cardiology
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Humans
  • Stroke / drug therapy


  • Anticoagulants