Background: Surgical transfusion has an outsized impact on hospital-based transfusion services, leading to blood product waste and unnecessary costs. The objective of this study was to design and implement a streamlined, reliable process for perioperative blood issue ordering and delivery to reduce waste. Study Design and Methods: To address the high rates of surgical blood issue requests and red blood cell (RBC) unit waste at a large academic medical center, a failure modes and effects analysis was used to systematically examine perioperative blood management practices. Based on identified failure modes (e.g., miscommunication, knowledge gaps), a multi-component action plan was devised involving process changes, education, electronic clinical decision support, audit, and feedback. Changes in RBC unit issue requests, returns, waste, labor, and cost were measured pre- and post-intervention. Results: The number of perioperative RBC unit issue requests decreased from 358 per month (SD 24) pre-intervention to 282 per month (SD 16) post-intervention (p <.001), resulting in an estimated savings of 8.9 h per month in blood bank staff labor. The issue-to-transfusion ratio decreased from 2.7 to 2.1 (p <.001). Perioperative RBC unit waste decreased from 4.5% of units issued pre-intervention to 0.8% of units issued post-intervention (p <.001), saving an estimated $148,543 in RBC unit acquisition costs and $546,093 in overhead costs per year. Discussion: Our intervention, designed based on a structured failure modes analysis, achieved sustained reductions in perioperative RBC unit issue orders, returns, and waste, with associated benefits for blood conservation and transfusion program costs.
- blood conservation
- perioperative blood management
- surgical transfusion practice