Restricting Blood Transfusion Utilization Results in Significant Cost Savings
Healthcare institutions can realize significant cost savings and improved patient outcomes by reducing the overutilization of blood transfusions. Estimates show that in the US alone, a moderate 30% reduction in transfusion of blood products results in an annual savings of anywhere from $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion. This same 30% reduction would save 50,000 lives, avert 200,000 wound complications, and eliminate eight million patient days in the hospital.
Transfusion Savings for Hospitals
Let’s look at some more data on cost savings quantified for hospitals in the chart below. On the left is a per transfused unit estimate of cost savings for the cost of the unit itself. On the right is the estimate per patient for savings that have to do with adverse events, mortality, and length of stay. As you can see, it’s a big difference — about six to seven times as much for all the subsequent complications, length of stay, and mortality issues that occur with an inappropriate transfusion. The cost of acquiring the unit is about $250, but all of the other costs that go along with transfusing have been estimated to be about $1,000. On the other hand, the costs associated with the adverse events, length of stay, etc. are about $7,000.
A G2 Intelligence study examining four adverse events — rebleeding, acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary edema, and bacterial infections — shows a reduction in the frequency of these events when the new restrictive guidelines are used. As you can see below, the rate of rebleeding is reduced by about a third, acute coronary syndrome and pulmonary edema by about half, and bacterial infections by about 14%. The study looked at hospitals with 400 – 500 beds, and applied the cost of the typical rates of those occurrences to them. All those reductions tallied up to approximately $1 million in savings for that year, just for those four adverse events.
Premier Healthcare came up with the following high-priority set of recommendations associated with cost savings for all of their member hospitals in terms of addressing this problem. Those highlighted in orange text require informatics and analytics.
- Using a multi-disciplinary blood stewardship team
- Working collaboratively with clinicians and supply chain executives to explore alternative products and procedures
- Establishing and implementing evidence-based transfusion guidelines
- Providing education and clinical decision support tools to inform clinicians of guidelines in real time
- Developing processes to monitor adherence to guidelines and provide feedback to clinicians
- Monitoring utilization on an ongoing basis while measuring the impact of improvement
To learn more, download “Advanced Lab Analytics for Patient Blood Management Programs“.