Implementation of an Acute Venous Thromboembolism Clinical Pathway Reduces Healthcare Utilization and Mitigates Health Disparities

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Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Acute venous thromboembolism (VTE) is prevalent, expensive, and deadly. Published data at our institution identified significant VTE care variation based on payer source. We developed a VTE clinical pathway to standardize care, decrease hospital utilization, provide education, and mitigate disparities.

METHODS:

Target population for our interdisciplinary pathway was acute medical VTE patients. The intervention included order sets, system-wide education, follow-up phone calls, and coordinated posthospital care. Study data (n = 241) were compared to historical data (n = 234), evaluating outcomes of hospital admission, length of stay (LOS), and reutilization, stratified by payer source.

RESULTS:

A total of 241 patients entered the VTE clinical care pathway: 107 with deep venous thrombosis (44.4%) and 134 with a pulmonary embolism (55.6%). Within the pathway, uninsured VTE patients were admitted at a lower rate than insured patients (65.9 vs 79.1%; P = 0.032). LOS decreased from 4.4 to 3.1 days (P < 0.001) for admitted VTE patients and from 5.9 to 3.1 days among uninsured patients (P = 0.0006). Overall, 30-day emergency department recidivism remained 11%, but declined (17.9% to 13.6%) among uninsured patients (P = 0.593). Fewer pathway patients (5.8%) were readmitted compared to historical patients (9.4%, P = 0.254). Individual cost of care decreased from $7610 to $5295 (P < 0.005) for any VTE patient, and from $9953 to $4304 (P = 0.001) per uninsured patient.

CONCLUSIONS:

Implementing an interdisciplinary, clinical pathway standardized care for VTE patients and dramatically reduced hospital utilization and cost, particularly among uninsured patients. Results of this novel study demonstrate a model for improving transitional care coordination with local community health clinics and delivering care to vulnerable populations. Other disease populations may benefit from the development of a similar model. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2014;9:430–435. © 2014 Society of Hospital Medicine

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