patient centered care coordination

MHIN executive director Tim Pletcher (right). Credit: Michigan Medicine via YouTube.

UCLA Health reduced transfusions by 20% with clinical decision support, all-electronic bar code scanning

The system moved away from a hybrid approach including paper and electronic barcode scanning and sees it as a boon to patient safety. 
By John Andrews
07:05 AM
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UCLA reduce transfusions bar code

Transitioning from a hybrid electronic-paper format to all-electronic bar code scanning has created tremendous efficiencies and greater patient safety for the blood administration process at UCLA Health, according to nursing informaticist Meg Furukawa. 

The hybrid approach, in fact, is still in common use at hospitals that are implementing an integrated electronic health record, Furukawa said, but the format has flaws that inhibit the optimization of the blood administration process.

“The biggest drawback is ensuring that the various systems ‘talk’ to each other,” she said. “An all-electronic format with barcode scanning brings elements to increase patient safety and decrease errors because the patient and the unit of blood are positively identified as well as matched against the provider’s transfusion order.”

The UCLA initiative took shape through two separate projects – the barcoding project took eight months to complete, followed by the embedded clinical decision support project, which also took eight months to finish.

Despite the length of time the transition took, the results have been worth it, Furukawa said, because the embedded clinical decision support has led to an 18 percent decrease in ordering of red blood cell transfusions, which also decreases risk for patients.

“Embedded clinical support helps clinicians order red blood cells appropriately and according to national guidelines for transfusion,” she said. “When ordering, the clinician is presented with the patient’s hemoglobin level as well as the information for when blood should be ordered. Blood is given everywhere in our hospitals, so we needed to make sure we involved staff from all areas and ensure that the new functionality met everyone’s needs.”

Furukawa will discuss UCLA’s success and lessons learned during the session “Optimizing Blood Administration to Enhance Patient Safety,” at HIMSS17. The presentation is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 308A of the Orange County Convention Center.

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.


This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.


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