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NICS VTE Prevention Programs in Australian hospitals


In 2003, the NHMRC’s National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) commissioned two major studies which helped shape the development of a national implementation program to improve the prevention of VTE in hospitalised patients in Australia. NHMRC has worked with over 80 Australian hospitals in both the public and private hospital sector (private program funded by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care), as well as peak health care bodies, Federal, State, and Territory health departments and agencies, and national and international experts in VTE prevention and quality improvement.

Program participants adopted a ‘whole of hospital’ approach to VTE prevention.

Barriers to VTE prevention

Common barriers to VTE prevention identified by hospital participants include:

  • Lack of awareness
    • Of the incidence of the problem
    • A silent complication, and usually manifests after discharge from hospital
  • Knowledge and education deficits
    • Appropriate risk assessment
    • Appropriate prophylaxis by risk category
    • (Go to VTE Prevention Guideline page for more information about the NHMRC’s evidence-based VTE prevention guideline)
  • Disputed, inconsistent or inconclusive evidence
    • Disagreement with evidence-based guidelines, particularly for medical patients
    • Concerns about bleeding in surgical patients
  • Lack of system support
    • Explicit policies for VTE prophylaxis

Program results

Results showed that significant improvements in compliance with best practice guideline recommendations could be achieved by training and supporting multidisciplinary hospital teams to adopt a system based approach to patient VTE risk assessment and management.

View the report, PREVENTING VENOUS THROMBOEMBOLISM IN HOSPITALISED PATIENTS: Summary of NHMRC Activity 2003 – 2010 (PDF, 535KB), for a synopsis of NHMRC VTE prevention activities undertaken, including the national VTE Prevention Program in the Australian Public and Private Hospital sector.

Program resources

A range of resources have been designed to help clinicians and managers of the quality and safety in health care and clinical risk, to improve the assessment and management of VTE risk in hospitalised patients. These resources include:

Page last updated on 8 January 2013