While moving towards a value-based payment system has been disruptive to the healthcare industry, the benefits of these changes are now apparent in reduced patient complications and mortality due to a stronger focus on patient-centric care. As experts in transfusion medicine, we are vital to the patient care experience and it is essential to understand that improving patient outcomes is a top priority for our hospital partners. Through understanding the reimbursement process, blood centers can work alongside hospitals and physicians to share in the benefits of improved patient outcomes. This strategy is critical for blood centers to move our discussions away from blood product costs and to truly align ourselves as partners with the healthcare systems in our communities.
As my blood center pursued this strategy, I was intrigued by the Perioperative Surgical Home (PHS) concept, which focuses on the patient’s surgical experience from scheduling the procedure to the last postoperative visit. When I was first introduced to the concept of the blood center “anemia clinic,” I was intrigued as to how it could work and where the hospital buy-in would be. Unless we can find new ways to maximize our value to hospitals in this role, we will miss our opportunity to stay on top of the ever-changing waves in healthcare and risk becoming viewed as merely a commodity in the supply chain. Using our expertise to support anemia management and reduce transfusion – and its associated costs and risks – offers hospitals a value-added service.
Hospitals have already harvested the low hanging fruit – decreasing blood use by establishing restrictive transfusion guidelines. We can help maintain those savings (and recover some of our own lost revenue from this reduction) by identifying the pre-surgical interventions that elevate a patient’s iron levels and prevent pre- and post-surgical anemia. We can position ourselves to determine whether a patient will receive a transfusion or pre-surgical iron supplementation. Many orthopedic and OB/GYN patients are already benefiting from this approach. The blood center “anemia clinic” can take on many forms, and local hospitals will take a strong interest in these programs.
The PSH has many synergies with our own patient blood management initiatives, as their goal is to improve health, advance healthcare delivery, and reduce healthcare costs. Communicating to hospitals where we can insert our expertise to support value-based care will better align our centers with hospitals and their requirements for improved margins. Due to our commitment to become a more dynamic healthcare partner for our hospitals, SunCoast Blood Bank is pursuing the formation of an anemia clinic within one of our hospital systems. ABC is the ideal forum to discuss these and other innovative concepts and share our results.
Jason Carney, Chief Operating Officer, Transfusion Safety Officer; SunCoast Blood Bank; email@example.com