Data Highlight Benefits of Patient Blood Management

The blood community has been focusing more efforts on patient blood management in recent years. But some professionals may remain somewhat hesitant to embrace the tenants of patient blood management, questioning if their facility would be able to implement such a program without compromising patient safety. Others may be looking for additional data about the efficacy of patient blood management.

During the Monday afternoon session, “Clinical Decision Support for Patient Blood Management,” experts addressed these concerns and more, highlighting recent data about patient blood management programs and discussing how a facility can implement such a program.

Ronald Jackups, MD, PhD, from Washington University School of Medicine, began his talk by discussing some of the reasons that patient blood management has been receiving increased attention in recent years. These include greater awareness of the potential risks for transfusion reactions and poor outcomes, the costs of transfusion, and new research that supports more restrictive transfusion practice.

The first randomized controlled trial supporting a restrictive transfusion threshold was published in 1999. During the next decade or so, more research was published that reiterated these findings. In 2012, the “Choosing Wisely” campaign began, which recommends restrictive transfusion in several patient scenarios.

Jackups cited data from a current study he is working on; the results indicate that almost half of blood ordered in hospitals is ordered in advance of a procedure and in many cases, the provider placing the order was not one who requested the transfusion. Both of these findings suggest that a reduction in blood use may be possible. Jackups concluded by noting that one of the most important steps in implementing more judicious blood use is education and that getting the right message to health care providers is key

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