Critical conversations on patient blood management with clinical colleagues

Published:October 27, 2022DOI:


      Although a subspecialty-trained transfusion medicine (TM) physician brings value to the clinical bedside, hospital transfusion service oversight often falls under the responsibility of pathologists primarily focused on surgical pathology. Yet, pathologists who lack TM fellowship training may not be quite as confident in their role as the TM physician in-charge, especially when the need to communicate with another clinician arises. Given that blood is a resource subject to frequent shortages, there is a need for constant monitoring of blood utilization such that those responsible for transfusion service oversight need to handle challenging clinical interactions when transfusion guidelines are breeched. Generally, the average pathologist is more knowledgeable regarding blood component therapy than other clinician. Yet, disagreements concerning patient transfusion management can arise, in spite of established evidence-based hospital transfusion guidelines. Since authoritative fact stating is not likely to be effective in changing the entrenched practices, pathologists must engage in strategies that will develop meaningful working relationships with their clinical colleagues. Such strategies include being a visible part of direct patient care, such as attendance at patient rounds or provision of mini-consultations by phone regarding transfusion management. Inviting clinicians to attend the hospital transfusion committee meetings and scheduling educational grand rounds are also useful strategies. Clinicians may be more receptive to blood conservation during times of shortages if open communication is established, particularly if hospital leadership is involved in urgent crisis messaging to the clinicians and other hospital staff involved in patient care.


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