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Readmissions for Venous Thromboembolism: Expanding the Definition of Patient Safety Indicators

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Background: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines its venous thrombo-embolism (VTE) patient safety indicator (PSI) as surgical cases with a secondary diagnosis of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis. Short-term readmissions for VTE are excluded because most state administrative databases are unable to track readmissions.

Methods: Patients meeting the AHRQ VTE PSI definition and those readmitted with a VTE principal diagnosis within 30 days of a prior surgical hospitalization were identified on the basis of inpatient discharge data.

Results: A total of 4,906 surgical discharges in New York met the AHRQ VTE PSI definition in 2001. An additional 1,059 cases of VTE were found when surgical patients with a short-term readmission for VTE were identified. Patients readmitted with VTE were less likely to die but were more likely to have a pulmonary embolism and were more likely to be white and non-Hispanic compared to those who met the AHRQ VTE PSI definition.

Discussion: Short-term readmissions for VTE represent potentially important cases to capture when monitoring adverse events. Prophylaxis, monitoring, and patient education may be required after hospital discharge to prevent or treat VTE as early as possible. Data systems that can track patients across multiple admissions to identify complications resulting in short-term readmissions are needed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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