Nation’s Blood Distribution Undergoes Major Changes

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The once cozy relationship between the nation’s blood centers and the hospitals they serve is breaking down. BiologicsDirect, a South Florida based healthcare technology firm, has the solution.

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The Online Blood Marketplace

BiologicsDirect, a South Florida based healthcare technology firm, has created an Internet based marketplace (http://www.biologicsdirect.com) where hospitals can order blood products from any listing blood center in the country.

One of the outcomes of the national squeeze on healthcare costs is the emergence of a competitive marketplace for blood products that will inevitably lower costs and improve service. In years past, it was considered bad practice for blood centers to compete for a hospital’s blood supply contract. This caused price and supply discrepancies that negatively affected hospitals and their patients. Now, the nation’s blood centers are becoming increasingly competitive and turning to a market based approach to solve pricing and supply issues.

The reasons for increased competition are many but the most important is that blood utilization has fallen nationwide as the clinical triggers for transfusions have decreased. This decrease in utilization has resulted in a national glut of blood products. Since all blood products have a shelf life – as low as 5 days in some cases – blood centers are scrambling to find purchasers for their products. Likewise, hospitals are facing the reality of having to contain costs and blood products are a major expense item in all hospital budgets.

The combination of increased availability of blood products and the need for cost cutting by hospitals has resulted in major changes to how our nation’s blood supply is managed. For example, prices vary widely in the absence of an efficient national market for blood products. The variation can be as much as 100% depending on the region of the country. Major hospital users of blood products in high price areas stand to save substantial amounts of healthcare dollars by using the BiologicsDirect marketplace.

The patient care benefits of a market based system of supplying blood products are many. Blood products will be readily available, making local blood shortages a thing of the past and reducing the number of blood products that expire. Blood centers with product surpluses will have greater access to potential users. Reference laboratory services will be available to all users, making the sourcing of hard to find products such as compatible platelets much easier. And finally, prices for blood products will be known to both buyers and sellers. All of these benefits will contribute to improved patient care and lower healthcare costs.

BiologicsDirect’s president is Charles Rouault, M.D., who has 40 years of experience in the blood banking industry from the perspective of both a blood center CEO and hospital user. The site has been designed to be transparent to all buyers and sellers, making it possible for hospitals to obtain their blood supply from a variety of suppliers.

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Alex Garcia, MBA

Charles Rouault, MD
@biologicsdirect
since: 03/2014
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