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Hospital-Acquired VTE Still a Leading Cause of Death

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 21, 2012

That might reduce the variation in reporting, as seen on Medicare's Hospital Compare. "The way these VTE cases are diagnosed is through imaging tests, and hospitals differ in the frequency with which these imaging tests are used," Grosse says.

For example, "there's one study that showed that among trauma patients, the rate of DVT varies seven fold between the hospitals that used imaging tests the most and those that used them the least." In other words, he says, the more hospitals looked, the more they found.

Another problem with Hospital Compare's data is that hospitals only report serious blood clots that occur after surgery but not after non-surgical hospitalizations. And only those that occur before the patient is discharged, as opposed to those that happen within 30 or 60 days post discharge are reported.

2.The second effort has to do with Partnership for Patients, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation's effort to reduce 10 hospital adverse events, including the incidence of VTE, by 50% by 2013. Efforts are in the very early stages.

3.The third effort involves two federally funded surveillance projects, one at the University of Oklahoma and the other at Duke University in Chapel Hill. The projects are trying to capture numbers of cases both that occur in the community and after hospital care.

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