Impact of Real-Time Clinical Decision Support on Blood Utilization and Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients with Solid Tumor Cancer

Kelley N. Wachsberg, Kevin J. O'Leary, Ryan Buck, Lyndsey S. O'Hara, Jungwha Lee, Gerald W. Rouleau, Kimberly Koloms, Charlotta Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Patients with cancer are frequently hospitalized, and anemia is a common complication of cancer care. Transfusion is often required and commonly occurs above guideline-supported thresholds. It was hypothesized that an educational intervention, combined with real-time clinical decision support (CDS), would reduce blood utilization among hospitalized solid tumor cancer patients without adversely affecting outcomes. Methods: A retrospective, historical control analysis was conducted comparing transfusion utilization among hospitalized solid tumor cancer patients before and after implementation of the educational intervention and CDS. The primary outcome was receipt of red blood cell (RBC) transfusion. Secondary outcomes included total RBC transfusions per 100 inpatient-days, readmission, outpatient transfusion within seven days of discharge, inpatient mortality, and odds of transfer to the ICU. Results: The odds of receiving a transfusion were significantly reduced in the postintervention cohort (odds ratio [OR] = 0.52, p = 0.005). Among patients receiving transfusion, there was no significant difference between groups in the number of RBC transfusions per 100 inpatient-days (incidence rate ratio = 0.87, p = 0.26). There were also no significant differences in readmission, outpatient transfusion within seven days of discharge, or inpatient mortality, though patients in the postintervention cohort had lower odds of ICU transfer (OR = 0.29, p = 0.04). Conclusion: The combined use of an educational intervention and CDS in a hospitalized solid tumor cancer patient population was associated with lower blood utilization, similar patient outcomes, and unchanged short-term outpatient transfusion requirements. Hospitals should consider similar interventions to work toward appropriate resource allocation and mitigation of transfusion-associated risk in this patient population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management

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