The evolution of modern anesthesia and surgical practices has been accompanied by enhanced supportive procedures in blood banking and transfusion medicine. There is increased focus on the preparation and the use of blood components including, but not limited to, preventing unnecessary type and screen/crossmatch orders, decreasing the time required to provide compatible red blood cells (RBCs), and reducing the waste of limited blood and personnel resources. The aim of this review is to help the anesthesiologist and surgical staff identify patients at highest risk for surgical bleeding. In addition, this review examines how anesthesia and transfusion medicine can efficiently and safely allocate blood components for surgical patients who require transfusions. The following databases were searched: PubMed, EMBASE, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Library from January 1970 through March 2014. Subsequent reference searches of retrieved articles were also assessed. Several innovations have drastically changed the procedures by which blood is ordered, inventoried, and the speed in which blood is delivered for patient care. Before entering an operating room, patient blood management provides guidance to clinicians about when and how to treat preoperative anemia and intra- and postoperative strategies to limit the patient's exposure to blood components. Timely updates of the recommendations for blood orders (maximum surgical blood ordering schedule) have enhanced preoperative decision making regarding the appropriateness of the type and screen versus the type and crossmatch order. The updated maximum surgical blood ordering schedule reflects modern practices, such as laparoscopy, improved surgical techniques, and use of hemostatic agents resulting in a more streamlined process for ordering and obtaining RBCs. The electronic (computer) crossmatch and electronic remote blood issue have also dramatically reduced the amount of time required to obtain crossmatch-compatible RBCs when compared with the more traditional serologic crossmatch methods. These changes in blood banking methods have resulted in more efficient delivery of blood to surgical patients.