Reducing unnecessary preoperative blood orders and costs by implementing an updated institution-specific maximum surgical blood order schedule and a remote electronic blood release system

Anesthesiology. 2014 Sep;121(3):501-9. doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000338.


Background: Using blood utilization data acquired from the anesthesia information management system, an updated institution-specific maximum surgical blood order schedule was introduced. The authors evaluated whether the maximum surgical blood order schedule, along with a remote electronic blood release system, reduced unnecessary preoperative blood orders and costs.

Methods: At a large academic medical center, data for preoperative blood orders were analyzed for 63,916 surgical patients over a 34-month period. The new maximum surgical blood order schedule and the electronic blood release system (Hemosafe; Haemonetics Corp., Braintree, MA) were introduced mid-way through this time period. The authors assessed whether these interventions led to reductions in unnecessary preoperative orders and associated costs.

Results: Among patients having surgical procedures deemed not to require a type and screen or crossmatch (n = 33,216), the percent of procedures with preoperative blood orders decreased by 38% (from 40.4% [7,167 of 17,740 patients] to 25.0% [3,869 of 15,476 patients], P < 0.001). Among all hospitalized inpatients, the crossmatch-to-transfusion ratio decreased by 27% (from 2.11 to 1.54; P < 0.001) over the same time period. The proportion of patients who required emergency release uncrossmatched blood increased from 2.2 to 3.1 per 1,000 patients (P = 0.03); however, most of these patients were having emergency surgery. Based on the realized reductions in blood orders, annual costs were reduced by $137,223 ($6.08 per patient) for surgical patients, and by $298,966 ($6.20/patient) for all hospitalized patients.

Conclusion: Implementing institution-specific, updated maximum surgical blood order schedule-directed preoperative blood ordering guidelines along with an electronic blood release system results in a substantial reduction in unnecessary orders and costs, with a clinically insignificant increase in requirement for emergency release blood transfusions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthesia
  • Blood Banks*
  • Blood Grouping and Crossmatching* / instrumentation
  • Blood Transfusion / economics
  • Blood Transfusion / methods*
  • Cost Savings
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Management*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Software*