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Med. Sci. 2018, 6(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/medsci6030067

Improving Blood Transfusion Practices in a Community Hospital Setting: Our Experience with Real-Time Clinical Decision Support

1
Department of Internal Medicine, Monmouth Medical Center, 300 2nd Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740, USA
2
Department of Pathology, Monmouth Medical Center, 300 2nd Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
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Abstract

There is good evidence that 50% or more of red blood cell (RBC) transfusions are unnecessary. To curtail inappropriate RBC transfusions at our hospital, real-time clinical decision support was implemented in our electronic medical record (EMR) that alerts clinicians to the patient’s most recent pretransfusion hemoglobin value upon order entry and provides Best Practice Advisory. This is a soft pop-up alert which is activated when the hemoglobin exceeds 7 g/dL. The ordering clinician can either honor (by cancelling the order) or override the alert. We studied the impact of the alert on blood utilization during a 3-month period (November 2016 to January 2017). For patients who were transfused despite the alert, a retrospective review of the medical chart was performed to determine whether or not the transfusion was clinically indicated. During the study period, 178 of the 895 RBC transfusion orders (20%) triggered the alert. After excluding duplicates, 144 orders were included in our analysis. Most of these orders (124/144, 86%) were carried out despite the alert. According to our chart review, 48% of the alert transfusions could be considered inappropriate, with hemodynamically stable, asymptomatic anemia being the leading indication. Of clinical services, orthopedic surgery had the highest rate of overriding the alert with no clinical justification (70%). The number of RBC transfusions dropped from 313.5 units per month (preintervention period) to 293.2 units per month (postintervention period)—a 6.5% decrease. Real-time clinical decision support may reduce the number of inappropriate RBC transfusions in a community hospital setting, though in our study, the decrease in blood utilization (6.5%) did not reach statistical significance. View Full-Text
Keywords: blood utilization; real-time transfusion support; inappropriate transfusion alert blood utilization; real-time transfusion support; inappropriate transfusion alert
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Sardar, M.; Azharuddin, M.; Subedi, A.; Ghatage, P.; Du, D.; Szallasi, A. Improving Blood Transfusion Practices in a Community Hospital Setting: Our Experience with Real-Time Clinical Decision Support. Med. Sci. 2018, 6, 67.

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