Adequacy of physician documentation of red blood cell transfusion and correlation with assessment of transfusion appropriateness

Mark T. Friedman, Amber Ebrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context. - A major function of the hospital transfusion service is to assess the appropriateness of blood transfusion. Inadequate documentation of transfusions may hamper this assessment process. Objective. - To correlate tine level of physician documentation of transfusion with the ability to justify transfusion. Design. - Retrospective review of red blood cell transfusions in adult patients in 2 hospital facilities during 1-week audit periods of each month from April 2001 to March 2003. Assessment forms were used to classify the level of physician documentation of transfusions info 3 groups: adequately, intermediately, and inadequately documented. Transfusions were deemed justified or not via comparison with hospital transfusion guidelines. Results. - There were 5062 audited red blood cells transfused to 2044 adult (≥ 18 years) patients. Medical records from 154 patients transfused with 257 units of red blood cells during 172 transfusion events were reviewed after initial screenings of hemoglobin/hematocrit values failed to justify the transfusions. Nine percent of adequately documented, 50% of intermediately documented, and 73% of inadequately documented transfusion events could not be justified. Transfusion events with suboptimal (intermediate and inadequate) documentation accounted for 49% of all medical record-reviewed transfusion events and 62% could not be justified. The correlation between inadequate documentation and failure to justify transfusion was significant (P < .001), as was the correlation between sub-optimal documentation and failure to justify transfusion (P = .03). Conclusions. - There is a significant correlation between suboptimal documentation and failure to justify transfusions. Educating clinicians to improve documentation along with appropriate indications for transfusions may enhance efficiency of blood utilization assessment and lead to reduced rates of unjustifiable transfusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-479
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Volume130
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

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