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Less Blood Testing for Some Surgeries Safe, Cost Effective

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 23, 2013

Alparslan Turan, M.D. of the Cleveland Clinic and others wrote in an accompanying editorial that the algorithm is "a novel and largely objective method for determining operation and institution-specific maximum blood order guidelines, that is recommendations for type-and-screen or the crossmatching of units for particular procedure classes."

They raised the question, however, of effectiveness. "How effective it is in clinical practice remains to be described. We hope these investigators will later report how difficult it was to implement their system, how well it worked in practice, and the resulting cost savings."

Asked if he thinks hospitals will not make the effort because the dollars might not seem that large, Frank says that once the hospital sees the waste and inefficiency, it will move fast to change practice.

"What will happen is that hospitals [and their labs] will focus on necessary blood orders and get then done faster. Right now, unnecessary orders are not triaged, so you may have a blood order for an aortic aneurysm that definitely needs blood, but it's waiting behind three thyroidectomies and delays the preparation because the bank staff is overwhelmed with these unnecessary blood orders."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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