Blood transfusions can be risky for patients and costly for hospitals. Highland Hospital implemented an ongoing quality improvement program that resulted in sustained continuous reduction in transfusions over seven years. They collected data from previous years and linked it to their laboratory information system to include patient demographics and clinical information. They also developed transfusion templates based on national guidelines that electronically alert clinicians when a transfusion falls outside those guidelines. Highland Hospital’s strategy to change the culture and behavior among blood bank technicians and clinicians includes providing education, individual coaching and counseling, and empowerment to question transfusion orders that don’t meet guidelines. Additionally, monthly transfusion audits ensure patient safety during transfusions.
This robust multimodal approach resulted in reduced hospital blood transfusions by more than 50%, which saved an estimated 110 lives and yielded more than $10 million in hospital savings. Blood component wastage was reduced by 75% and transfusion reactions were reduced by 35%.