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Health technology reassessment (HTR) is a process to manage existing health technologies to ensure ongoing optimal use. A model to guide HTR was developed; however, there is limited practical experience. This paper addresses this knowledge gap through the completion of a multi-phase HTR of red blood cell (RBC) transfusion practices in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The HTR consisted of three phases and here we report on the final phase: the development, implementation, and evaluation of behavior change interventions aimed at addressing inappropriate RBC transfusions in an ICU.
The interventions, comprised of group education and audit and feedback, were co-designed and implemented with clinical leaders. The intervention was evaluated through a controlled before-and-after pilot feasibility study. The primary outcome was the proportion of potentially inappropriate RBC transfusions (i.e., with a pre-transfusion hemoglobin of 70 g/L or more).
There was marked variability in the monthly proportion of potentially inappropriate RBC transfusions. Relative to the pre-intervention phase, there was no significant difference in the proportion of potentially inappropriate RBC transfusions post-intervention. Lessons from this work include the importance of early and meaningful engagement of clinical leaders; tailoring the intervention modalities; and, efficient access to data through an electronic clinical information system.
It was feasible to design, implement, and evaluate a tailored, multi-modal behavior change intervention in this small-scale pilot study. However, early evaluation of the intervention revealed no change in technology use leading to reflection on the important question of how the HTR model needs to be improved.
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