Northwestern Memorial Hospital Recognized by CDC for Innovative, Lifesaving Efforts to Prevent Blood Clots in Hospitalized Patients

Northwestern Medicine
News March 31, 2016
VTE Prevention Challenge Champ CDC 2015 AwardNorthwestern Memorial Hospital was one of eight hospitals and health systems recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as Healthcare-Associated Venous Thromboembolism (HA-VTE) Prevention Champions.* Venous thromboemboli, or VTE, are blood clots that form deep in the body, in the lungs, or both. Northwestern Memorial was recognized for its success in implementing innovative and effective ways to prevent VTE in healthcare settings.

VTE is a serious and growing public health problem with an estimated 900,000 VTE events occurring in the U.S. each year, resulting in as many as 100,000 premature deaths. VTE-associated healthcare costs may be as high as $10 billion a year. People who are currently or recently hospitalized, recovering from surgery, or being treated for cancer are at increased risk for developing these deadly blood clots.

“Approximately half of all VTE occur in patients who are hospitalized or recovering from surgery,” said Karl Y. Bilimoria, MD, MS, vice chair for quality in the department of Surgery for Northwestern Medicine and director of the Northwestern Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center. “To ensure that we were providing the best possible care for our patients, we implemented a comprehensive, multi-year initiative to prevent blood clots after surgery.  We are proud to be recognized for this team effort that involved physicians, nurses, patients, process improvement engineers, quality improvement experts and our executive leadership.” 

Northwestern Memorial’s VTE prevention success relied upon several factors, including:
  • Support from senior clinical leadership and hospital administration    
  • Educational intervention among physicians and nurses to develop their skills and engage their support
  • Improvements in the electronic medical record system to advance safe and consistent practice
  • Robust collaboration among surgical and medical clinicians to define and adopt VTE prevention practices
  • Continuous monitoring of unit-specific performance by hospital leadership, clinical process owners and frontline nurse managers
  • Dedicated focus on systematic measurement and feedback, using data to drive improvement.

To learn more, read the full press release.
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