Benchmarking: Applications to Transfusion Medicine
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Benchmarking is as a structured continuous collaborative process in which comparisons for selected indicators are used to identify factors that, when implemented, will improve transfusion practices. This study aimed to identify transfusion medicine studies reporting on benchmarking, summarize the benchmarking approaches used, and identify important considerations to move the concept of benchmarking forward in the field of transfusion medicine. A systematic review of published literature was performed to identify transfusion medicine-related studies that compared at least 2 separate institutions or regions with the intention of benchmarking focusing on 4 areas: blood utilization, safety, operational aspects, and blood donation. Forty-five studies were included: blood utilization (n = 35), safety (n = 5), operational aspects of transfusion medicine (n = 5), and blood donation (n = 0). Based on predefined criteria, 7 publications were classified as benchmarking, 2 as trending, and 36 as single-event studies. Three models of benchmarking are described: (1) a regional benchmarking program that collects and links relevant data from existing electronic sources, (2) a sentinel site model where data from a limited number of sites are collected, and (3) an institutional-initiated model where a site identifies indicators of interest and approaches other institutions. Benchmarking approaches are needed in the field of transfusion medicine. Major challenges include defining best practices and developing cost-effective methods of data collection. For those interested in initiating a benchmarking program, the sentinel site model may be most effective and sustainable as a starting point, although the regional model would be the ideal goal.
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