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No one doubts the significant variation in the practice of transfusion medicine. Common examples are the variability in transfusion thresholds and the use of tranexamic acid for surgery with likely high blood loss despite evidence-based standards. There is a long history of applying different strategies to address this variation, including education, clinical guidelines, audit and feedback, but the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these initiatives remains unclear. Advances in computerised decision support systems and the application of novel electronic capabilities offer alternative approaches to improving transfusion practice. In England, the National Institute for Health and Care Research funded a Blood and Transplant Research Unit (BTRU) programme focussing on 'A data-enabled programme of research to improve transfusion practices'. The overarching aim of the BTRU is to accelerate the development of data-driven methods to optimise the use of blood and transfusion alternatives, and to integrate them within routine practice to improve patient outcomes. One particular area of focus is implementation science to address variation in practice.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Haematol

Publication Date



audit and feedback, blood transfusion, changing practice, electronic data capture