Outdating of blood components is a matter of concern in transfusion medicine. In the present study, a benchmarking programme to reduce outdating of red blood cells was implemented in Canadian hospitals and evaluated over close to 6 years. Benchmarks included education, inventory management, summaries of best practice recommendations, and recognition of high-performing sites.

The authors describe continuously decreasing outdating rates for all hospitals over the observation period. The key elements of the benchmarking programme were a comprehensive and evidence-based implementation strategy, ongoing information sharing, and a robust data system to track information.

The authors show that benchmarking is a useful tool to facilitate continuous quality improvement in transfusion medicine and its implementation in current patient blood management programmes is of utmost importance.

– Rainer Moog