Implementation of an anticoagulation practice guideline for covid-19 via a clinical decision support system in a large academic health system and its evaluation: Observational study

Surbhi Shah, Sean Switzer, Nathan D. Shippee, Pamela Wogensen, Kathryn Kosednar, Emma Jones, Deborah L. Pestka, Sameer Badlani, Mary Butler, Brittin Wagner, Katie White, Joshua Rhein, Bradley Benson, Mark Reding, Michael Usher, Genevieve B. Melton, Christopher James Tignanelli

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2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Studies evaluating strategies for the rapid development, implementation, and evaluation of clinical decision support (CDS) systems supporting guidelines for diseases with a poor knowledge base, such as COVID-19, are limited.

OBJECTIVE: We developed an anticoagulation clinical practice guideline (CPG) for COVID-19, which was delivered and scaled via CDS across a 12-hospital Midwest health care system. This study represents a preplanned 6-month postimplementation evaluation guided by the RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) framework.

METHODS: The implementation outcomes evaluated were reach, adoption, implementation, and maintenance. To evaluate effectiveness, the association of CPG adherence on hospital admission with clinical outcomes was assessed via multivariable logistic regression and nearest neighbor propensity score matching. A time-to-event analysis was conducted. Sensitivity analyses were also conducted to evaluate the competing risk of death prior to intensive care unit (ICU) admission. The models were risk adjusted to account for age, gender, race/ethnicity, non-English speaking status, area deprivation index, month of admission, remdesivir treatment, tocilizumab treatment, steroid treatment, BMI, Elixhauser comorbidity index, oxygen saturation/fraction of inspired oxygen ratio, systolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, treating hospital, and source of admission. A preplanned subgroup analysis was also conducted in patients who had laboratory values (D-dimer, C-reactive protein, creatinine, and absolute neutrophil to absolute lymphocyte ratio) present. The primary effectiveness endpoint was the need for ICU admission within 48 hours of hospital admission.

RESULTS: A total of 2503 patients were included in this study. CDS reach approached 95% during implementation. Adherence achieved a peak of 72% during implementation. Variation was noted in adoption across sites and nursing units. Adoption was the highest at hospitals that were specifically transformed to only provide care to patients with COVID-19 (COVID-19 cohorted hospitals; 74%-82%) and the lowest in academic settings (47%-55%). CPG delivery via the CDS system was associated with improved adherence (odds ratio [OR] 1.43, 95% CI 1.2-1.7; P<.001). Adherence with the anticoagulation CPG was associated with a significant reduction in the need for ICU admission within 48 hours (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.30-0.51; P<.001) on multivariable logistic regression analysis. Similar findings were noted following 1:1 propensity score matching for patients who received adherent versus nonadherent care (21.5% vs 34.3% incidence of ICU admission within 48 hours; log-rank test P<.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our institutional experience demonstrated that adherence with the institutional CPG delivered via the CDS system resulted in improved clinical outcomes for patients with COVID-19. CDS systems are an effective means to rapidly scale a CPG across a heterogeneous health care system. Further research is needed to investigate factors associated with adherence at low and high adopting sites and nursing units.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere30743
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge Fairview Health Services IT staff Iva Ninkovic, Karl Koch, Phill Stokkeland, Sandy Soukup, and Eric Murray. This research was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) (grant K12HS026379) (S Shah and CJT) and the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (grant KL2TR002492). Additional support for Minnesota Learning Health System Mentored Career Development Program (MN-LHS) scholars was offered by the University of Minnesota Office of Academic Clinical Affairs and the Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the AHRQ, PCORI, or MN-LHS. This study was also supported by the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Award (grant UL1TR000114).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 JMIR Publications Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • Anticoagulation
  • COVID-19
  • Clinical decision support
  • Clinical practice guideline
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Implementation science
  • RE-AIM

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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