Optimizing the Use of Blood Products

Using Epic to standardize blood administration and improve patient care


Winter is a challenging time for collecting blood donations. According to the American Red Cross, hospitals faced a blood shortage of 28,000 units last winter as a result of holiday travel, winter weather, and a long flu season. That means hospitals must sometimes make tough decisions to conserve blood products, such as canceling elective surgeries. To keep patients safe and to make sure that patients have blood when they need it, organizations can make changes to cut down on blood waste.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics implemented a blood management program to improve patient care, manage costs, and conserve blood resources. They improved awareness and education around the use of blood products, implemented advisories and warnings in Epic, and improved collaboration across teams. The team worked with surgeons to refer anemic patients to the hematology clinic before surgery so that the patients were less likely to need extra blood products during a procedure. Not only did UIHC make sure patients had blood when they needed it, they also saved $9.3 million in two years by purchasing fewer blood products, reducing transfusion costs, and reducing adverse events related to blood transfusions.

Read more about UIHC’s Davies Award case study.