Novis DA, Friedberg RC, Renner SW, Meier FA, Walsh MK. Operating room blood delivery turnaround time. A College of American Pathologists Q-Probes study of 12 647 units of blood components in 466 institutions. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2002; 126:909-914.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the normative distribution of time elapsed for blood bank personnel to fill nonscheduled operating room (OR) blood component orders in hospital communities throughout the United States, and to examine hospital blood bank practices associated with faster blood component delivery times.
DESIGN: Participants in the College of American Pathologists Q-Probes laboratory quality improvement program collected data prospectively on the times elapsed for blood bank personnel to fill nonscheduled emergent orders from hospital ORs for red blood cell (RBC) products, fresh frozen plasma (FFP), and platelets (PLTs). Participants also completed questionnaires describing their hospitals’ and blood banks’ laboratory and transfusion practices.
SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred sixty-six public and private institutions located in 48 states in the United States (n = 444), Canada (n = 9), Australia (n = 8), the United Kingdom (n = 4), and Spain (n = 1).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The median time elapsed between requests for blood components by OR personnel and the retrieval of those components by blood component transport personnel, and the median time elapsed between requests for blood components by OR personnel and the arrival of those components in ORs.
RESULTS: Participants submitted data on 12 647 units of RBCs, FFP, and PLTs. The median aggregate request-to-retrieval turnaround times (TATs) for RBCs, FFP, and PLTs ranged from 30 to 35 minutes, and the median aggregate request-to-arrival TATs for RBCs, FFP, and PLTs ranged from 33 to 39 minutes. Most of the TAT was consumed by events occurring prior to, rather than after release of components from blood banks. Shorter prerelease TATs were associated with having surgical schedules that listed patients’ names and procedures available to blood bank personnel prior to surgeries, and having adequate clotted specimens in the blood bank and completed type-and-screen procedures performed before requests for blood components were submitted to blood banks. Among the fastest-performing 10% of participants (90th percentile and above), request-to-retrieval TATs ranged from 12 to 24 minutes for the 3 blood components, whereas among the slowest-performing 10% of participants (10th percentile and below), request-to-retrieval TATs ranged from 63 to 115 minutes for the 3 components. Median TATs ranged from 33 to 37 minutes for the 3 components. Institutions with TATs in the fastest-performing 25th percentile more frequently stored cross-matched RBCs in the OR daily, stocked PLTs for unexpected surgical use, stored PLTs in or near the OR, and had laboratory rather than nonlaboratory personnel deliver components to the OR than did those institutions with TATs in the slowest-performing 25th percentile.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospital blood bank personnel can deliver blood components to the OR in slightly longer than 30 minutes, measured from the time that those units are requested by OR personnel. Practices aimed at saving time before components are released from blood banks will be more efficient in reducing overall TAT than those practices aimed at saving time after components are released from blood banks. Specific practices associated with shorter blood delivery TATs included providing blood bank personnel with access to the names of surgical patients potentially requiring blood components, having pretransfusion testing completed on those patients prior to surgery, having ample blood products on hand, and having laboratory personnel control blood product delivery.