CMOs: Evidence-Based Medicine's Best Advocates

Philip Betbeze, May 4, 2012

Essentially, the researchers found that by lowering hemoglobin threshold to 8 (instead of) 10, they used 66% fewer blood transfusions and they had no different outcomes between the two groups in length of stay, heart attack, stroke, death, and even the ability to walk.

The logical conclusion: If there's no benefit from giving extra blood, then all that's left is the additional cost and the potential for harm by giving more blood than is needed.

Certainly the research must be evaluated, but this is something that seems to make so much sense that it should change practices rather quickly, at least for physicians who are made aware of the news.

I'm not writing to pillory physicians and accuse the entire group of being unwilling to change. The approach to changing clinical practices has been uneven and I understand resistance to hearing from a non-physician that a physician should change the way he or she practices medicine given the physician's investment in a long academic career and apprenticeship (through residency).

Leadership means delegating this responsibility to the physicians themselves, and it's why a strong CMO role is essential.

Philip Betbeze

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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