Five hospitals sites across Saskatchewan are being recognized by Choosing Wisely Canada and Canadian Blood Services as Using Blood Wisely hospitals. The hospitals include Regina General and Pasqua Hospitals in Regina, Southeast Integrated Care Centre in Moosomin, Royal University and St. Paul’s Hospitals in Saskatoon.
According to Choosing Wisely Canada’s statistics, there are 26 locations in Saskatchewan engaged in this initiative to improve appropriateness of red blood cell transfusion in our province. The local Choosing Wisely Saskatchewan office and clinical champions are supporting this work.
“We anticipate all sites in Saskatchewan will be eligible to receive designation once appropriate benchmarks have been reached,” noted Dr. Ryan Lett, physician lead for patient blood management in Regina.
Using Blood Wisely is meant to decrease inappropriate red blood cell transfusion practices in Canada. Choosing Wisely Canada is the national voice for reducing unnecessary tests and treatments in health care, with a focus on improving appropriateness of care.
According to the Using Blood Wisely website, “Inappropriate transfusion practices are common in hospitals. Not only does this put significant strains on Canada’s blood supply, but it also exposes patients to potential harm.”
“The role of transfusion is far more limited than previously appreciated,” said Dr. Lett. “Every tool has its purpose, but when it comes to transfusion, it is more important to address the underlying cause of anemia than reflexively prescribe a blood transfusion. Imagine how much healthier our population would be if we eliminated iron and B12 deficiency, two of the conditions responsible for many blood transfusions.”
As part of the Using Blood Wisely campaign, Choosing Wisely Canada, Canadian Blood Services and clinical experts have developed national benchmarks on transfusion appropriateness. The Using Blood Wisely Hospital designation symbolizes a commitment to red blood cell stewardship and to the continuous pursuit of quality improvement.
In achieving this designation, these five Saskatchewan hospitals have demonstrated improved utilization for patients, donors, and Canada’s blood supply. While the hospitals receive the designation, it is due to the contribution of unseen heroes in the laboratory who field calls and intervene on behalf of patients to ensure the highest safety and quality standards are met.
“I’d like to say congratulations to all those involved in this initiative at our care centres,” stated Dr. Susan Shaw, Chief Medical Officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “Reducing unnecessary blood transfusions improves quality of care and outcomes while also supporting responsible stewardship and appropriate use of multiple resources. And I know from personal experience how difficult this work can be.”