Efficacy of education followed by computerized provider order entry with clinician decision support to reduce red blood cell utilization.

PMID 25646579


Two necessary components of a patient blood management program are education regarding evidence-based transfusion guidelines and computerized provider order entry (CPOE) with clinician decision support (CDS). This study examines changes in red blood cell (RBC) utilization associated with each of these two interventions. We reviewed 5 years of blood utilization data (2009-2013) for 70,118 surgical patients from 10 different specialty services at a tertiary care academic medical center. Three distinct periods were compared: 1) before blood management, 2) education alone, and 3) education plus CPOE. Changes in RBC unit utilization were assessed over the three periods stratified by surgical service. Cost savings were estimated based on RBC acquisition costs. For all surgical services combined, RBC utilization decreased by 16.4% with education alone (p = 0.001) and then changed very little (2.5% increase) after subsequent addition of CPOE (p = 0.64). When we compared the period of education plus CPOE to the pre-blood management period, the overall decrease was 14.3% (p = 0.008; 2102 fewer RBC units/year, or a cost avoidance of $462,440/year). Services with the highest massive transfusion rates (≥10 RBC units) exhibited the least reduction in RBC utilization. Adding CPOE with CDS after a successful education effort to promote evidence-based transfusion practice did not further reduce RBC utilization. These findings suggest that education is an important and effective component of a patient blood management program and that CPOE algorithms may serve to maintain compliance with evidence-based transfusion guidelines.