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HIMSS Davies Awards 2018: Sparrow Health Reduces Non-Emergent Blood Transfusions

clinician with blood sample

Sparrow Health System recognized that overuse of red blood cell (RBC) and platelet transfusions was a significant problem – one that was exposing patients to potential harms and wasting a finite, expensive resource. To address this, the health system set a three-year goal of increasing compliance with evidence-based best practice guidelines for blood product use.

Using Evidence-Based Best Practices to Improve the Blood Product Ordering Process

Sparrow addressed these challenges through a multidisciplinary effort that replaced stand-alone blood product orders with evidence-based, guideline-compliant order sets. Clinical decision support tools were integrated in the electronic medical record for compliance reports, which encouraged transfusion orders only with documented, appropriate indications. This discouraged the ordering of more than one unit of RBCs in non-emergency situations. Provisions were also made for one-click ordering for urgent or massive transfusions when necessary.

As a result, Sparrow was able to improve the ordering of blood products according to evidence-based RBC and platelet transfusion indications and single unit RBC transfusion protocols, which led to a 32 percent and 25 percent decrease in transfused RBC and platelet units, respectively. This equates to 9,572 fewer RBC units and 2,391 fewer platelet units transfused from 2013 to 2017.

Based on adverse event frequency data, Sparrow estimated that decreased blood product use prevented one RBC transfusion-related acute lung injury, 100 transfusion-associated circulatory overloads, and between 100 and 300 hives reactions.

Since RBC and platelet transfusions also take up considerable nursing and blood bank staff time, decreasing transfusions by nearly 12,000 units saved approximately 15,000 hours of nursing time and 12,000 hours of blood bank staff time. The organization was not only able to expose fewer patients to the risks, costs and side effects of unnecessary blood product transfusions but also improved efficiencies and decreased the stress, time and expenses for doctors, nurses and blood bank staff to respond to transfusion reactions and investigate their causes.

HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence

The HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement of organizations that have utilized health information technology to substantially improve patient outcomes and value. The HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence is the pinnacle of the HIMSS Value Recognition Program and highlights organizations promoting health information and technology-enabled improvements in patient and business outcomes through sharing evidence-driven best practices on implementation strategies, workflow design, change management and patient engagement.

“Sparrow Health System’s dedication to using evidence-based best practices for RBC and platelet transfusions improved care delivery for patients and workflows for staff, leading to great financial savings for the organization,” said Jonathan French, CPHIMS, senior director of quality and value-based care at HIMSS. “For this, HIMSS is proud to recognize Sparrow as a 2018 Davies Enterprise Award winner.”

“We are honored to have earned the Davies Award. All of our information systems initiatives are focused on ensuring the finest possible experiences for patients, consumers, physicians, nurses and caregivers in every role,” said Dennis Swan, president and chief executive officer of Sparrow Health System. “We continuously seek to learn, grow and improve. The Davies Award is a direct reflection of our progress. However, we know that we will always have much more to accomplish for the benefit of the people who rely upon us for safety, quality, service and value. Thank you.”

Sparrow Health System will be recognized during the 2019 HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition, which takes place February 11-15 in Orlando, Florida.

Learn more about how Sparrow Health System has embraced the value of health information and technology: explore three award-winning use cases.