New Tools Help Physicians Conserve Low Blood Supplies
October 21, 2021 | 2 min. to read
Published evidence shows that blood transfusions are one of the most overused hospital-based procedures nationwide. To conserve critically low blood supplies, a new Northwestern Medicine care reliability project incorporates evidence-based Patient Blood Management principles into red blood cell (RBC) ordering practices.
“The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted the shortage,” says Darren V. Boyd, MD, MBA, Hospital Medicine. Dr. Boyd and David D. Odell, MD, are clinical sponsors of the Red Blood Cell Utilization project. As fewer people donated blood over the past 18 months, inventory dropped. “This project is timely. Now there is an absolute shortage of blood, particularly type O. At times we have only one- or two-day supplies,” Dr. Boyd says.
Updated RBC order available in Epic starting October 26 Physicians and APPs are encouraged to use new tools to improve patient outcomes by minimizing blood loss, preventing anemia and reducing the need for blood transfusions. They include:
Updated RBC Prepare and Crossmatch order in Epic that promotes single-unit ordering. An associated Best Practice Alert will appear if the ordering clinician deviates from evidence-based unit recommendations. See the screenshot below, and view a tip sheet.