Improvements in red blood cell transfusion utilization following implementation of a single-unit default for electronic ordering

Matthew A. Warner, Kalli K. Schaefer, Nageswar Madde, Jennifer M. Burt, Andrew A. Higgins, Daryl J. Kor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The prevention of excessive allogeneic red blood cell (RBC) transfusion is an important component of patient blood management initiatives. In this investigation, changes in transfusion behaviors following modification of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) procedures for RBC transfusions to a single-unit default quantity were assessed. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: This is an observational cohort study of adults for whom nonemergency allogeneic RBC transfusions were ordered in the 2 years before and 2 years after the date of modification of the CPOE system to a single-unit default (June 18, 2015). Changes in the frequency of single- versus multiunit RBC transfusion orders and other transfusion metrics were compared between preintervention and postintervention cohorts. RESULTS: A total of 52,773 unique transfusion orders for 61,989 RBC units were included, of which 60,045 (96.9%) were transfused. Single-unit orders increased annually, from 10,404 (74.1%) in the first year to 11,645 (88.6%) in the last year, while multiunit orders decreased by more than half (p < 0.0001). The number of RBC units transfused decreased by 13.9% from 32,528 in the preintervention cohort to 27,497 in the post intervention cohort (p < 0.0001) with an estimated reduction in transfusion-related expenditures of nearly $4 million. The percentage of transfusions associated with a posttransfusion hemoglobin of10 g/dL or greater decreased by 34.5% (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Modification of the CPOE process such that nonemergency RBC transfusion orders were defaulted to a single unit was associated with decreased rates of multiunit RBC transfusion orders, lower transfusion volumes, and substantial cost savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2218-2222
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


Dive into the research topics of 'Improvements in red blood cell transfusion utilization following implementation of a single-unit default for electronic ordering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this