Today we will be discussing transfusion medicine education. Currently medical schools do not emphasize transfusion medicine, nor do the United States Medical Licensing Exams stress knowledge of blood components or transfusions. This is surprising since transfusions represent the most common medical procedure in the United States, and the American Medical Association identifies transfusions as one of the five most overused medical treatments.
Dr. Karafin wrote an editorial on the subject and has this to add:
“Over the past few years, hospitals have been focusing more on blood utilization through blood management programs, and this increased attention on blood has given the transfusion community an opportunity to enhance basic transfusion knowledge for all of our clinical colleagues.”
To help pinpoint the gaps in transfusion medicine education for the physicians ordering blood products, Dr. Haspel, Dr. Lin, and the BEST Collaborative have developed and validated a transfusion medicine exam.
Dr. Haspel describes how the exam was developed:
“Using a survey-based approach, we utilized this group’s expertise to develop exam content. To further develop and analyze the exam, we leveraged the experience of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. With their assistance, we were able to use Rasch analysis to determine the accuracy and precision of the exam.”
To validate the exam, Dr. Haspel and his team administered the test to 49 individuals, including residents and non-transfusion medicine physicians. In addition, the researchers have recently given the exam to over 450 internal medicine residents in nine countries at 23 hospitals in order to gain a better understanding of the gaps in transfusion medicine internationally.
Dr. Haspel further comments:
“There is a growing recognition that, similar to other areas of medicine, there needs to be a structured, evidence-based approach to medical education. That is, designing interventions based on sound principles and evaluating using accepted study designs.”
By using this short, validated transfusion medicine exam, hopefully hospital blood management programs will be able to improve blood safety and limit escalating blood costs.
We’ll be back with another edition of Transfusion News on May 30. Thanks for joining us.