Assessing the total costs of blood delivery to hospital oncology and hematology patients
To determine direct costs associated with a blood transfusion session in two hospital settings. The study was conducted in two United Kingdom hospital sites during April 2004. Transfusion sessions for patients receiving units of red blood cells within either haematology or oncology departments were followed using time and motion techniques to measure the direct costs. Other data were collected from the centres to calculate the cost of disposables, blood wastage and blood bank machines. Total mean staff cost per transfusion of 2 units was 37.24 pounds sterling (9.68 pounds sterling for blood bank and 27.56 pounds sterling for ward procedures). The mean cost of disposables was 13.25 pounds sterling and the mean cost for blood products was 287.56 pounds sterling. The mean cost of wastage was 11.86 pounds sterling per transfusion. After including other derived costs, such as hospital stay, the mean cost for a transfusion of 2 units of blood was estimated to be 546.12 pounds sterling. This study estimates the cost of an average blood transfusion of 2 units to be 546.12 pounds sterling. It should be noted that significant indirect costs, such as those incurred by patients, their carers and societal costs, have not been considered. Against the background of finite blood resources and other factors such as patient quality of life, blood transfusion may not represent the best choice for patient care. Alternative treatments should be considered.