Saving Lives & Saving Blood

Boost your hospital’s blood management program by avoiding transfusions and recycling the patient’s own blood through SpecialtyCare’s autotransfusion services.


Our Autotransfusion Services

The SpecialtyCare autotransfusion program is designed to boost a hospital’s blood management program by recycling the patient’s own blood. Hospitals can save a significant amount of money every year by avoiding blood transfusions. It’s an easy setup and portable. It also minimizes disease and avoids the negative outcomes that come from pre-donated blood and standard donor blood transfusion.

What is Autotransfusion?

Autotransfusionists (or autotransfusion technicians,) use cell saver machines to clean and filter blood from patients so that it can be given back to them if they need a transfusion. Limiting the use of donor blood reduces the risk of infection and disease. In some hospitals, nurses and other healthcare technicians manage the autotransfusions, but some facilities employ autotransfusion technicians contract staff from a specialty company.

The main responsibility of this job is the setting up and monitoring of cell saver equipment before, during, and after surgery. Working under the direction of doctors, surgeons or perfusionists, autotransfusion technicians take a patient’s blood and process it to where it’s suitable to be transfused back into the body. In other words, they clean the blood of the patient.
Autotransfusionists sometimes need to use a variety of cell saver techniques and equipment, including rapid infusion systems. The technicians also ensure that all procedures are sterile and meet regulatory compliance standards.

Autotransfusion technicians clean and sterilize equipment after use, making sure the items that will not be reused are disposed of properly. They also run regular checks to make sure that all equipment is in good working order and occasionally they will take on routine maintenance tasks.

They have a few administrative duties, like writing up reports on procedures to outline what happened during the autotransfusion process. They may also have stocking and ordering responsibilities, checking inventory, and ordering new supplies when necessary.

While it’s possible to get an entry-level job as an autotransfusion technician with a high school diploma, some employers prefer to recruit candidates with an associate degree and/or experience in autotransfusion or something similar in the health field. Some technicians cross-train into this job by working as surgical, perfusion and blood bank technicians.

Autotransfusion technicians may need to be flexible and able to manage stressful situations in a stressful hospital setting. Those who work for contract staffing companies and for hospital groups may not work in a single location. In some cases, they may work on call. Technicians should have solid analytical and problem-solving skills.

This job requires an eye for detail and a commitment to following regulations and practice protocols. Technicians work with many types of healthcare professionals and need decent communication skills.

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When Did Autotransfusion Start?

The first documented use of “self-donated” blood happened in 1818, and a continued interest in the practice carried it all the way until the Second World War. During WWII, blood supply wasn’t much of an issue thanks to an increased number of blood donors.

Later on, the procedure returned to the spotlight after concerns about separate-donor transfusions. Autotransfusion was used in a number of orthopedic, trauma, and cardiac cases. The procedure carried certain advantages, including the reduced risk of infection, and more functional cells not being subjected to the significant storage durations common among separate-donor blood products.

During the American Civil War, Union Army doctors administered four transfusions. In 1886, autotransfusion was used during the amputation of limbs by removing blood from the amputated limb and returning it to the patient by femoral injection.

This method was proved successful. In 1914, the first successful use of intraoperative autotransfusion was reported, with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The earliest report in the American literature on the use of autotransfusion was in 1917 when it was used during a splenectomy.

Become an Autotransfusion Technician

Training and evaluation for SpecialtyCare Autotransfusion (ATS) clinical technicians involves three phases:

  • Phase I: The clinician receives a pre-employment aptitude test
  • Phase II: The clinician attends a training course at SpecialtyCare University and must pass a comprehensive written exam before on-site hospital employment
  • Phase III: The clinician is supervised for a predefined number of hours in the field to complete his or her clinical training

All clinicians meet the standards set by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the Joint Commission, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Clinicians have to pass a strict ability assessment that validates that they can work independently.

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SpecialtyCare’s Autotransfusion Support

At SpecialtyCare, our goal is to help you build an operating room of excellence and provide the best outcomes. Our philosophy is based on our values and the belief that a combination of sound, standardized processes and dedicated personal service is needed to ensure the very best in patient care and cost management.
We take an evidence-based approach that focuses on clinical quality, a commitment to excellence, staying in accordance with industry regulations, and continued improvement backed by the best-in-class education, training, and research.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the available supply of whole blood decreased over 9% between 2008 and 2011. Blood is expensive and shortages can result in the cancellation of elective surgeries. Also, blood-borne pathogens pose significant risks. With SpecialtyCare Autotransfusion services, your hospital can ensure timely care, expand with significant cost savings, and experience better patient outcomes by reducing the need for transfusions.

Our expert clinicians are onsite when you need them, ready to deliver services where you need them. ATS eliminates the possibility of blood typing errors and reduces the negative clinical outcomes that can result from standard donor blood transfusions and pre-donated blood. You’ll also save on expenses related to managing blood donations, including collecting, testing, storage, and inventory loss. In fact, one of our customers saved $4 million by transfusing 1,000 patients with their own blood.

Our highly trained clinical technicians integrate seamlessly with your staff and procedures. We make sure that standards and protocols are being met, and can provide care intraoperatively and post-operatively, in the PACU, the patient’s room, or wherever it’s needed.

You’ll receive data to drive improvement and demonstrate the efficacy of ATS over donor blood. And, you’ll be supported by a dedicated clinical manager who oversees the ATS program, provides continuing education, and shares best practices with your team.

We understand how important it is that you have the comfort of exceptional care in the OR. In addition to annual clinical competency testing and ongoing education, our autotransfusion technicians must meet the standards and recommendations set by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), the Joint Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks).

SpecialtyCare’s commitment to research and training ensures that we’re ready with the latest techniques and practices to provide patients with high-quality clinical care that promotes their safety and successful outcomes. In addition to autotransfusion, we can provide platelet-rich plasma cell-based therapy and bone marrow aspirate concentrate cell-based therapy to accelerate healing.


Autotransfusion Procedures and Dashboard

SpecialtyCare focuses on patients first. Whether we’re joining forces with you at a hospital or clinic or another type of medical facility, our focus on patient care is what makes SpecialtyCare stand out in the industry. To this end, we measure the quality and accuracy of autotransfusion procedures with four key indicators recommended by the AABB:

  • Air removed from bag: Frequency
  • Maximum vacuum: %≤150 mmHg
  • Microaggregate filter utilized: Frequency
  • Blood returned to patient: Frequency


With annual clinical competency testing and ongoing education through SpecialtyCare University, which includes a fully equipped OR for training, we develop expertise beyond required certifications and provide superior quality care so that your surgical team can be certain they have the best partner for clinical excellence, always.

The SpecialtyCare Autotransfusion Dashboard is a web-based, interactive report that graphically summarizes clinical indicator results. This enables us to help our customers improve quality and identify trends by benchmarking against other SpecialtyCare partners in our national database. In addition to our regular monthly reports, we can provide custom data analyses and post hoc investigations to help hospital administrators and surgeons target and improve specific elements of clinical care and internal processes.

Team With SpecialtyCare Autotransfusion

The SpecialtyCare Autotransfusion (ATS) team partners with hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities by seamlessly integrating with your staff to provide consistent, reliable, and high-quality care. We strive to understand your business as well as you do so that we can anticipate your needs and make recommendations to continually improve your blood management program.

The patient is our first and last priority here at SpecialtyCare. Whether it’s autotransfusion, perfusion, intraoperative neuromonitoring, deep brain stimulation and so much more, we all do what we do to keep the patient safe and comfortable. From our clinicians in the field to our physician teams to our business officers at headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, we all come together to be the industry leader in patient care that you can always trust. Team with us to find out why we are SpecialtyCare.