Lecumberri R, Marques M, Diaz-Navarlaz MT, Panizo E, Toledo J, Garcia-Mouriz A, et al. Maintained effectiveness of an electronic alert system to prevent venous thromboembolism among hospitalized patients. Thromb Haemost 2008 Oct;100(4):699-704.
Despite current guidelines, venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis is underused. Computerized programs to encourage physicians to apply thromboprophylaxis have been shown to be effective in selected populations. Our aim was to analyze the impact of the implementation of a computer-alert system for VTE risk in all hospitalized patients of a teaching hospital. A computer program linked to the clinical record database was developed to assess all hospitalized patients' VTE risk daily. The physician responsible for patients at high risk was alerted, but remained free to order or withhold prophylaxis. Over 19,000 hospitalized, medical and surgical, adult patients between January to June 2005 (pre-intervention phase), January to June 2006 and January to June 2007 (post-intervention phase), were included. During the first semesters of 2006 and 2007, an electronic alert was sent to 32.8% and 32.2% of all hospitalized patients, respectively. Appropriate prophylaxis among alerted patients was ordered in 89.7% (2006) and 88.5% (2007) of surgical patients, and in 49.2% (2006) and 64.4% (2007) of medical patients. A sustained reduction of VTE during hospitalization was achieved, Odds ratio (OR): 0.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.25-1.10) and OR: 0.51, 95%CI (0.24-1.05) during the first semesters of 2006 and 2007 respectively, the impact being significant (p < 0.05) among medical patients in 2007, OR: 0.36, 95%CI (0.12-0.98). The implementation of a computer-alert program helps physicians to assess each patient's thrombotic risk, leading to a better use of thromboprophylaxis, and a reduction in the incidence of VTE among hospitalized patients. For the first time, an intervention aimed to improve VTE prophylaxis shows maintained effectiveness over time.