An initiative at Regions Hospital that is also supported by the American Red Cross is preventing unnecessary red blood cell transfusions and ensuring that patients who do need one get the right dose at the right time. Since these blood use strategies were implemented in 2011, the average amount of blood transfused has decreased by 94 units per month, or 14 percent.
Growing research shows that transfusions temporarily suppress the immune system and can increase medical complications. With the American Red Cross, Regions Hospital’s pathology department developed a decision-support tool for its electronic medical record. The tool is designed to improve the appropriate use of red blood cells based on the latest evidence-based clinical guidelines.