We have experienced a record number of supply chain failures adversely affecting the national blood supply, including whole blood collection bags, apheresis collection kits, and solutions like calcium chloride. Clearly, the lack of capacity to accommodate supply chain interruptions reflects a lack of reserve inventories, which is exactly what "Lean" has driven out. Health care, unlike new car manufacturers, must always be available, and the current economic system provides a frank disincentive to having reserve supplies. Additional challenges to maintaining robust inventories include staffing and access to a more diverse donor base. Dr. John Hick, a national expert in health care preparedness, will discuss planning for a wide variety of public health challenges and stress challenges to the supply chain that we can and cannot control. He helped create a statewide system of preparedness cards at the Minnesota Department of health as part of pandemic flu planning. William (Bill) Block of BCA, a group purchasing organization, will discuss specific examples of shortages within transfusion medicine.
VP and Medical Director,
Memorial Blood Centers