Northwestern Medicine

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

Northwestern Memorial Hospital March 31, 2016

Northwestern Memorial Hospital only hospital in Illinois and one of eight hospitals and health systems nationally named Healthcare-Associated Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Champions for 2015

2015 CDC HA-VTE Prevention Challenge AwardCHICAGO, IL – Northwestern 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 United States 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 Medicine 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 Hospital 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.

For more information on Northwestern Memorial Hospital HA-VTE prevention strategies, visit the CDC HA-VTE Prevention Champion website. The HA-VTE Champions are a group of eight institutions ranging from a small community hospital to some of the country's largest health systems, representing both rural and urban areas. Together, the organizations cared for more than 450,000 patients admitted to hospitals across the United States in 2014. Learn how these facilities were able to improve VTE prevention by implementing innovative, effective and sustainable strategies.

"These challenge winners saved lives by implementing innovative VTE prevention strategies in their institutions,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH. “We can all learn from their ideas and work together to protect patients from developing deadly blood clots."

The HA-VTE Prevention Challenge was launched on November 2, 2015, to find and reward hospitals, managed care organizations and hospital networks that implemented innovative and effective ways to prevent HA-VTE. CDC, along with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is sharing these best practices with others to help strengthen VTE prevention efforts.

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Media Contact

Megan McCann
Manager, Media Relations
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern Memorial Hospital 312.926.5900