Bettse Folsom, Greater Kansas City Examiner
November 18, 2011

For nearly two years, The University of Kansas Hospital has been utilizing a blood management program, designed to conserve the amount of blood used in all of its procedures. The “Saving Blood Saves Lives” program has been so successful, it’s now been given the national Spirit of Excellence Award for Quality by Modern Healthcare magazine and Sodexo Health Care.

The hospital’s program has not only saved patients more than three million dollars, but has also attained the best survival rate in its history with deaths 38 percent below expectations. The use of blood in transfusions has been reduced 29 percent.

“We know blood products have to be used in many of the procedures we perform,” said Lowell Tilzer, MD, chair of pathology and laboratory medicine and medical director of the hospital’s clinical lab. “But in spite of today’s safety of blood products, transfusions carry risks. Research shows clearly that only using blood products when absolutely necessary results in better outcomes for patients.”

Tilzer said programs that traditionally use high volumes of blood, such as heart surgery and blood and marrow transplants, have shown better outcomes and reduced costs since adopting the blood management initiative. Tilzer and lab director Shirley Weber embarked on a major education campaign for the medical staff, nurses and hospital administrators that included recent research. The hospital adopted rules for blood usage based on that research.

In bestowing the award, representatives from Modern Healthcare and Sodexo said “Your team’s insights about traditional transfusions has resulted in the achievement of an innovative program which helps patients survive with an increased quality of life for them and their families. You have set a new standard for this award that will be hard to match.”

Information courtesy of University of Kansas Hospital

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