Background In a large cluster-randomized trial on the impact of a prediction model, presenting the calculated risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) on-screen (assistive approach) increased the administration of risk-dependent PONV prophylaxis by anaesthetists. This change in therapeutic decision-making did not improve the patient outcome; that is, the incidence of PONV. The present study aimed to quantify the effects of adding a specific therapeutic recommendation to the predicted risk (directive approach) on PONV prophylaxis decision-making and the incidence of PONV. Methods A prospective before-after study was conducted in 1483 elective surgical inpatients. The before-period included care-as-usual and the after-period included the directive risk-based (intervention) strategy. Risk-dependent effects on the administered number of prophylactic antiemetics and incidence of PONV were analysed by mixed-effects regression analysis. Results During the intervention period anaesthetists administered 0.5 [95% confidence intervals (CIs): 0.4-0.6] more antiemetics for patients identified as being at greater risk of PONV. This directive approach led to a reduction in PONV [odds ratio (OR): 0.60, 95% CI: 0.43-0.83], with an even greater reduction in PONV in high-risk patients (OR: 0.45, 95% CI: 0.28-0.72). Conclusions Anaesthetists administered more prophylactic antiemetics when a directive approach was used for risk-tailored intervention compared with care-as-usual. In contrast to the previously studied assistive approach, the increase in PONV prophylaxis now resulted in a lower PONV incidence, particularly in high-risk patients. When one aims for a truly 'PONV-free hospital', a more liberal use of prophylactic antiemetics must be accepted and lower-risk thresholds should be set for the actionable recommendations.

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British Journal of Anaesthesia
Department of Public Health

Kappen, T. H., Vergouwe, Y., VanWolfswinkel, L., Kalkman, C., Moons, K., & van Klei, W. (2015). Impact of adding therapeutic recommendations to risk assessments from a prediction model for postoperative nausea and vomiting. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 114(2), 252–260. doi:10.1093/bja/aeu321