Either the strategic drivers shaping the blood community’s environment are at an all time high of flux, or I am suffering from bilateral uveitis – perhaps it is both. Regardless, my crystal ball has never been less clear.
I had the honor of chairing America’s Blood Centers’ Strategic Business Intelligence Task Force in 2005. The task force considered key strategic drivers at the time in order to advise the membership on likely major shifts in red cell supply and demand, product price, and hospital purchasing dynamics. Michelle Stefan expertly led the Task Force through a scenario planning exercise, focusing on a scenario characterized by flat or declining product pricing amid increasing availability of supply.
At the 2005 ABC Annual Meeting, I presented the results of our efforts, but I also took the liberty of going a bit further, arguing that we would be facing this low demand/low price scenario soon; it would be sustained; and we would be forced to move quickly to consider tough choices in how we operated at the center level. It was less than six months later that the strategic drivers essentially returned to normal, and my prognostication of long-term, sustained downward trends appeared unfounded. Put simply, I was dead wrong. So it was with considerable trepidation that I accepted the invitation to present my thoughts at this past week’s Advisory Committee for Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability meeting in Rockville, Md.
The meeting focused on how anticipated changes in healthcare will affect blood centers and the provision of essential services. I reviewed the key strategic trends: declining demand, declining product pricing, and increased influence of growing hospital systems on blood contract decisions. I did not, however, attempt to predict again what blood banking will look like in five to 10 years. Instead, I discussed the incredible creativity and accountability demonstrated by our members in testing new business models, reducing costs, and navigating the blood community’s environmental challenges. None of us can predict with certainty what the future holds, but I can confidently argue that we will figure out reasonable solutions and deliver on our mission. As was the original intent of the ABC Strategic Business Intelligence Task Force, ABC’s role is to help inform and provide a unique forum for the exchange of ideas by the membership. We commit to continue fulfilling this role.
Dave Green, Board President; firstname.lastname@example.org