Intermountain saves $2.5 million with blood-tracking initiative

An initiative at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare to reduce blood transfusions helped the 22-hospital system cut costs by $2.5 million over two years while significantly reducing hospital-acquired infections and mortality, according to research being presented this week at the 2015 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons.

Intermountain implemented the blood ordering and tracking system in 2012, which also involved providing thousands of physicians with monthly email records of their personal transfusion-ordering practices and educating them about best practices.

Before the system was implemented, Intermountain found that various surgeons and physicians each used different thresholds to order blood. With the new system, there now is a consistent threshold across all disciplines for doing so, though physicians still can order blood for patients at varying levels when they need to, according to an announcement.

In 2011, 6 percent of patients at Intermountain facilities received blood; now only 4 percent do. With blood costing $300 per unit, the savings add up.

Between Jan. 1, 2012, and Jan. 1, 2015, there was a decrease of transfusing almost 50 units of blood per 1,000 patient days to about 35.5 units, a reduction of around 30 percent. The health system also reduced orders for two orders of blood to 23 percent.

Intermountain has been focused on making its supply chain more cost-effective, building the $40 million Intermountain Kem C. Gardner Supply Chain Center in 2012.

It also teamed up with consulting firm Deloitte to produce a tool called OutcomesMiner that uses data from electronic medical records to improve patient treatment efforts via comparative effectiveness research.

To learn more:
- check out the research
- read the announcement