WA’s Patient Blood Management Program attracts worldwide attention

The Patient Blood Management program designed to maximise the use of a patient's own blood to help avoid blood transfusions during hospital treatment has been published in Transfusion, the journal of the American Association of Blood Banks.

A Western Australia study published in Transfusion (external link), the journal of the American Association of Blood Banks, shows a world-first, system-wide patient blood management program was associated with improved patient survival, along with reduced complications and hospital length of stay, while saving millions of dollars.

The Patient Blood Management (PBM) program is designed to maximise the use of a patient’s own blood to help avoid blood transfusions during hospital treatment.  International studies have shown that patients recover sooner, heal faster and have fewer complications when they rely upon their own blood supply during their hospital stay.

Lead author and haematologist, Professor Michael Leahy is delighted with the interest the study is attracting internationally, which is now in the top 5 per cent of all research outputs scored by Altmetric . “PBM is increasingly being used in hospitals around the world and is fast becoming the gold standard in patient care.”  

The study, the world’s largest to date, included 605,046 patients admitted to Western Australia’s four major adult tertiary-care hospitals over six years, with results showing:

  • 28% reduction in hospital mortality
  • 15% reduction in average hospital length of stay
  • 21% decrease in hospital-acquired infections
  • 31% decrease in the incidence of heart attack or stroke.

PBM also saves money, with the use of blood products reducing by 41% during the study period, representing a cost saving of $18.5 million. However, gross savings, which include the cost of administering transfusions in the hospitals, is estimated to be between $80-100 million.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Gary Geelhoed, who was involved in the study, sees the PBM program as a critical part of good hospital management. “With increasing demands on health and hospital budgets it is essential we continue to find ways to improve patient outcomes without compromising care.  PBM is an excellent program which delivers both.”

For more information about PBM, visit HealthyWA (external site).