Blood transfusion was identified by the American Medical Association as one of the top five most frequently overused therapies. Utilization review has been required by accreditation agencies, but retrospective review has been ineffective due to labor-intense resources applied to only a sampling of transfusion events. Electronic medical records have allowed clinical decision support (CDS) to occur via a best practices alert at the critical decision point concurrently with physician order entry.We review emerging strategies for improving blood utilization.Implementation of CDS at our institution decreased the percentage of transfusions in patients with a hemoglobin level of more than 8 g/dL from 60% to less than 30%. Annual RBC transfusions were reduced by 24%, despite concurrent increases in patient discharge volumes and case mix complexity. This resulted in acquisition costs savings (direct blood product purchase costs) of $6.4 million over 4 years.We have been able to significantly reduce inappropriate blood transfusions and related costs through an educational initiative coupled with real-time CDS. In deriving increased value out of health care, CDS can be applied to a number of overuse measures in laboratory testing, radiology, and therapy such as antibiotics, as outlined by the American Board of Internal Medicine's Choosing Wisely campaign.
View details for DOI 10.1309/AJCP4W5CCFOZUJFU
View details for Web of Science ID 000345053900004