Clinical Pathway for VTE Patients Decreases Hospital Use, Costs

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Standardizing care for venous thromboembolism patients using a clinical pathway may help reduce hospital utilization and care costs, according to a study in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora developed a clinical pathway including order sets, system-wide education, follow-up phone calls and coordinated post-discharge care. They then compared data of patients within the pathway with historical patient data.

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The length of stay for patients in the VTE pathway decreased from 4.4 days to 3.1 days. Readmission rates were lower for VTE pathway patients than historical patients, at 5.8 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively.

Additionally, the researchers found differences between uninsured and insured patients within the pathway. Uninsured patients in the pathway were admitted at a lower rate than insured patients, at 65.9 percent and 79.1 percent, respectively. Overall hospital costs for uninsured pathway patients fell from $9,953 to $4,304 and $7,610 to $5,295 for any pathway patient.

Researchers suggest an interdisciplinary, clinical pathway can help reduce care utilization and hospital costs, especially for uninsured patients. They also suggest other disease populations may benefit from a similar model.

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