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Vital to quality improvement is measurement, and this applies specifically to implementation of interventions. The chosen measures will help to determine whether an impact is being made (primary outcome), whether the intervention is actually being carried out (process measures), and whether any unintended consequences ensue (balancing measures).

Below are some recommended measures to use, as appropriate, to track your progress. In selecting your measures, consider the following:

  • Whenever possible, use measures you are already collecting for other programs.
  • Evaluate your choice of measures in terms of the usefulness of the final results and the resources required to obtain them; try to maximize the former while minimizing the latter.
  • Try to include both process and outcome measures in your measurement scheme.
  • You may use different measures or modify the measures described below to make them more appropriate and/or useful to your particular setting. However, be aware that modifying measures may limit the comparability of your results to others.
  • Posting your measure results within your hospital is a great way to keep your teams motivated and aware of progress. Try to include measures that your team will find meaningful and exciting (IHI, 2011).

For more information on measuring for improvement, contact contact the Canadian Patient Safety Institute Central Measurement Team at

Outcome Measures

  1. Incidence of VTE in Medical and Surgical Patients
  2. Incidence of VTE in Obstetrical Patients

Process Improvement Measures

  1. Percentage of Patients Receiving Appropriate Venous Thromboembolism Prophylaxis, Including Appropriate*:
    1. Type of thromboprophylaxis
    2. Dose
    3. Start time
    4. Duration
    5. Adherence
  2. Type of Thromboprophylaxis Provided*
  3. Reasons the Recommended Thromboprophylaxis was NOT Used*
  4. Percentage of Use of Order Sets That Included Thromboembolism Prophylaxis*
  5. Percentage of Obstetrical Patients with Completed VTE Risk Assessment

* Safer Healthcare Now! 2012