Background: Total hip and knee arthroplasties are two of the most commonly performed procedures in orthopedic surgery. Different blood-saving measures (BSMs) are used to reduce the often-needed allogenic blood transfusions in these procedures. A recent large randomized controlled trial showed it is not cost effective to use the BSMs of erythropoietin and perioperative autologous blood salvage in elective primary hip and knee arthroplasties. Despite dissemination of these study results, medical professionals keep using these BSMs. To actually change practice, an implementation strategy is needed that is based on a good understanding of target groups and settings and the psychological constructs that predict behavior of medical professionals. However, detailed insight into these issuses is lacking. Therefore, this study aims to explore which groups of professionals should be targeted at which settings, as well as relevant barriers and facilitators that should be taken into account in the strategy to implement evidence-based, cost-effective blood transfusion management and to de-implement BSMs.
Methods: The study consists of three phases. First, a questionnaire survey among all Dutch orthopedic hospital departments and independent treatment centers (n = 99) will be conducted to analyze current blood management practice. Second, semistructured interviews will be held among 10 orthopedic surgeons and 10 anesthesiologists to identify barriers and facilitators that are relevant for the uptake of cost-effective blood transfusion management. Interview questions will be based on the Theoretical Domains Interview framework. The interviews will be followed by a questionnaire survey among 800 medical professionals in orthopedics and anesthesiology (400 professionals per discipline) in which the identified barriers and facilitators will be ranked by frequency and importance. Finally, an implementation strategy will be developed based on the results from the previous phases, using principles of intervention mapping and an expert panel.
Discussion: The developed strategy for cost-effective blood transfusion management by de-implementing BSMs is likely to reduce costs for elective hip and knee arthroplasties. In addition, this study will lead to generalized knowledge regarding relevant factors for the de-implementation of non-cost-effective interventions and insight in the differences between implementation and de-implementation strategies.