Can eliminating risk stratification improve medical residents' adherence to venous thromboembolism prophylaxis?

Ann L. Polich, Gale M. Etherton, Jon T. Knezevich, Justin B. Rousek, Chris M. Masek, M. Susan Hallbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a common and preventable adverse event that most patients are at risk of developing during their hospital stay. VTE prophylactic anticoagulation (chemoprophylaxis) is the preferred pharmacological assignment for reducing risk of VTE, but it is underused in current practices involving risk stratification (RS) for VTE prevention. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a protocol that eliminates the RS step (non-RS protocol) is more likely to lead residents to evidence-based VTE assignment than the currently used RS protocol. The non-RS protocol follows a methodology that reduces complexity by assuming that the risk of VTE is present and uses contraindications to determine appropriate VTE assignment. Method: In 2009, 41 medicine residents at the Nebraska Western Iowa Veterans Affairs clinic participated in an online comparison of two different protocols (RS and non-RS) for assigning chemoprophylaxis for VTE. Six validated, hypothetical patient scenarios were used to compare appropriate (evidence-based) VTE assignments for VTE and completion times for each protocol. Results: Statistical analyses found that the non-RS protocol produced significantly faster (P < .001) scenario completion times and significantly more (P < .001) appropriate VTE assignments than the RS protocol for four of the six patient scenarios. Conclusions: This study used a new, streamlined protocol (non-RS), which improved VTE assignment and the use of chemoprophylaxis and simplified the process when compared with the use of a traditional RS protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1518-1524
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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