Background and Objectives:
The American Board of Internal Medicine's Choosing Wisely campaign recommends against ordering repetitive complete blood counts (CBC) in the face of clinical and laboratory stability.
Consecutive patients admitted to a teaching team were included. Intervention 1 was an educational lecture outlining costs of and indications for CBC ordering. Intervention 2 added a simplified algorithm to help providers determine the need for a daily CBC. The primary outcome measure was the number of CBCs ordered per number of patients per day. The secondary outcome measure was net cost saved. The process measures were lecture/poster and algorithm utilization rates. The balancing measure was emergency department visits/readmissions within 7 days of discharge. A statistical process control chart was generated to assess special cause variation. Using R software version 3.5.2, a 2-sample t test and Fisher exact test differences between groups in the outcome and balancing measures.
One hundred ten patients were included over a 62-day period. The difference between the pre-intervention group and both interventions combined was significant (P = .000317). Special cause variation was observed after institution of both interventions in conjunction. Net costs saved totaled $43 482. Emergency department visits/readmissions within 7 days were similar between the groups (P = .1403).
Complete blood count ordering patterns and costs were improved through education and providing a decision support tool in the form of a simplified algorithm, without increasing 7-day emergency department visits/readmissions. The algorithm, far less detailed than that previously published, still resulted in significant improvement without unintended consequences, making for a safe and potentially sustainable intervention.