To assess the effectiveness of system-wide interventions designed to increase the implementation of thromboprophylaxis and decrease the incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in hospitalised medical and surgical patients at risk of VTE.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs).
Medline, PubMed, Embase, BIOSIS, CINAHL, Web of Science, CENTRAL, DARE, EED, LILACS and clinicaltrials.gov without language restrictions from inception to 7 January 2017, as well as the reference lists of relevant review articles.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies
RCTs that evaluated the effectiveness of system-wide interventions such as alerts, multifaceted, education, and preprinted orders when compared with no intervention, existing policy or another intervention.
We included 13 RCTs involving 35 997 participants. Eleven RCTs had data available for meta-analysis. Compared with control, we found absolute increase in the prescription of prophylaxis associated with alerts (21% increase, 95% CI [15% to 275%]) and multifaceted interventions (4% increase, 95% CI [3% to 11%]), absolute increase in the prescription of appropriate prophylaxis associated with alerts (16% increase, 95% CI [12% to 20%]) and relative risk reductions (risk ratio 64%, 95% CI [47% to 86%]) in the incidence of symptomatic VTE associated with alerts. Computer alerts were found to be more effective than human alerts, and multifaceted interventions with an alert component appeared to be more effective than multifaceted interventions without, although comparative pooled analyses were not feasible. The quality of evidence for improvement in outcomes was judged to be low to moderate certainty.
Alerts increased the proportion of patients who received prophylaxis and appropriate prophylaxis, and decreased the incidence of symptomatic VTE. Multifaceted interventions increased the proportion of patients who received prophylaxis but were found to be less effective than alerts interventions.
Trial registration number