Hospitals Overspending on Blood Transfusions

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , October 9, 2012

Premier recommends that hospitals initiate six practices to lower the use of blood:

1. Use of a multi-disciplinary blood stewardship team
2. Collaboration with clinicians and supply chain executives to find alternative products and procedures
3. Implementation evidence-based transfusion guidelines
4. Education and clinical decision support to inform clinicians of guidelines in real time
5. Development of processes to monitor adherence to guidelines and provide
feedback to clinicians
6. Monitoring and measuring the impact of improvement

Premier's efforts to get hospitals to use less blood is one of several campaigns to reduce the use of blood. Another, the "Hemovigilance Module," is a joint effort of the American Association of Blood Banks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Increasingly, researchers are finding that even practices instituted by surgeons for Jehovah's Witness patients, whose religion prohibits any transfusion, do not carry such serious risks previously believed.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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