Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is responsible for over 25,000 deaths a year in the UK, including 10% of hospital inpatient deaths. A House of Commons report in 2005 led to the development of guidance by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Chief Medical Officer, for the safe use of anticoagulants and other measures to prevent VTE (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism). VTE prevention is a patient safety priority for the National Health Service (NHS).
The NICE 2010 guidance (CG92) requires that all adult hospital inpatients undergo a VTE risk assessment (RA) using a standardised national VTE RA template – upon admission, again 48 hours later, and whenever the patient’s clinical condition changes.
Based on the national template, clinicians at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT) pioneered an electronic VTE RA tool that enables the assessment to be completed in 30 seconds. This tool has the added benefits of calculating the risk of VTE and recommending appropriate prophylaxis using a pharmacological and/or mechanical agent. This decision support tool is web-based and is now available to any organisation across the globe. The tool and the VTE prevention programme at Colchester Hospital won the 2010 NHS Innovation Award for Patient Safety.