Patient Care

Adherence to Restrictive Red Blood Cell Transfusion Guidelines Improved with Peer Feedback


Clinical question: Can a multifaceted approach involving clinician education, peer email feedback, and monthly audit data improve adherence to restrictive red blood cell (RBC) transfusion guidelines?

Background: Randomized controlled trials and professional society guidelines support adoption of RBC transfusion strategies in stable, low-risk patients. Studies suggest that education and feedback from specialists may decrease inappropriate transfusion practices, but peer-to-peer feedback has not yet been explored.

Study design: Prospective, interventional study.

Setting: Tertiary care center SICU, single U.S. academic center.

Synopsis: All stable, low-risk SICU patients receiving RBC transfusions were included in this study. Intervention consisted of educational lectures to clinicians, dissemination of monthly aggregate audit transfusion data, and direct email feedback from a colleague to clinicians ordering transfusions outside of guidelines. Six-month intervention data were compared with six months of pre-intervention data.

During the intervention, total transfusions decreased by 36%, from 284 units to 181 units, and percentage of transfusions outside restrictive guidelines decreased to 2% from 25% (P<0.001). Six months after the end of the intervention period, transfusions outside restrictive guidelines increased back to 17%, suggesting a lack of permanent change in transfusion practices.

Bottom line: A multifaceted approach involving education, peer-to-peer feedback, and monthly audits improved adherence to restrictive RBC transfusion guidelines; however, changes were not sustained.

Citation: Yeh DD, Naraghi L, Larentzakis A, et al. Peer-to-peer physician feedback improves adherence to blood transfusion guidelines in the surgical intensive care unit. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015;79(1):65-70.

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