Quality improvement project seeks to reduce blood product waste in liver transplant

Dr. Meghan Brennan

A new quality and safety initiative led by Meghan Brennan, M.D., is seeking to reduce blood product waste in liver transplant cases. Two new strategies, a blood product refrigerator and modifications to blood product order sets, have already been implemented and shown promising results.

“Blood products are an essential and valuable resource for many of our patients,” said Brennan, an assistant professor of anesthesiology in the divisions of Critical Care Medicine and Liver & Transplant Anesthesia. “Ideally blood product waste would never happen; however, in the dynamic environment of the operating room we need these products readily available.”

Brennan participated in an 11-week Advanced Training Program (ATP) in Clinical Quality Improvement through Intermountain Healthcare, as part of the new strategic plan led by Dean of the UF College of Medicine Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A.

Blood bag in a hospital room

After completing the training, she collaborated with the UF Health liver transplant team, including anesthesiologists, surgeons, colleagues from the UF Health Blood Bank, and nursing staff (Christine Simmons, B.S.N., R.N., clinical leader of the South Tower operating rooms), to develop several solutions. One is a new mobile blood product refrigerator in the operating room to reduce red blood cell waste. A second component is modifying blood product order sets to potentially change blood product delivery times when appropriate to optimize use.

“Ideally with all of these interventions we will have blood products readily available for all of our patients with reduced waste,” Brennan said.

The initiative has been going well since it began this fall and will continue for at least a year.