J Appl Lab Med. 2023 Jul 21:jfad041. doi: 10.1093/jalm/jfad041. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Hospital acquired anemia is common during admission and can result in increased transfusion and length of stay. Recumbent posture is known to lead to lower hemoglobin measurements. We tested to see if an initiative promoting evening lab draws would lead to higher hemoglobin measurements due to more time in upright posture during the day and evening.
METHODS: We included patients hospitalized on 2 medical units, beginning March 26, 2020 and discharged prior to January 25, 2021. On one of the units, we implemented an initiative to have routine laboratory draws in the evening rather than the morning starting on August 26, 2020. There were 1217 patients on the control unit and 1265 on the intervention unit during the entire study period. First we used a linear mixed-effects model to see if timing of blood draw was associated with hemoglobin level in the pre-intervention period. We then compared levels of hemoglobin before and after the intervention using a difference-in-difference analysis.
RESULTS: In the pre-intervention period, evening blood draws were associated with higher hemoglobin compared to morning (0.28; 95% CI, 0.22-0.35). Evening blood draws increased with the intervention (10.3% vs 47.9%, P > 0.001). However, the intervention floor was not associated with hemoglobin levels in difference-in-difference analysis (coefficient of -0.15; 95% CI, -0.51-0.21).
CONCLUSIONS: While evening blood draws were associated with higher hemoglobin levels, an intervention that successfully changed timing of routine labs to the evening did not lead to an increase in hemoglobin levels.