A computerized checklist system designed to help physicians identify and use the best methods of preventing potentially deadly blood clots in hospitalized trauma patients dramatically reduced the number of these dangerous venous thromboembolisms (VTEs), new Johns Hopkins research suggests.
When a doctor enters medical orders for such patients, the automated checklist recommends evidence-based best treatments for each patient’s needs, usually the regular administration of low-dose blood thinners or the use of compression devices to keep blood flowing in the legs. The researchers say this new system worked far better than previous methods, which included handing out laminated cards outlining best practices or lectures presented on the topic of preventing VTE, a term that covers dangerous clots in the legs and lungs.
The research team found a nearly two-fold improvement in prophylaxis orders among patients who had no contraindications to receiving the low-dose blood thinners. Blood thinners are often not ordered in patients with bleeding risk, as they can exacerbate bleeding.