Theme editorial| Volume 18, ISSUE 4, P553-558, December 1997

Should hospitals collect blood components? Yes: Hospitals put patients first

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      Stand-alone blood collection centers throughout the world have suffered in recent years from cost overruns, quality and regulatory problems of major proportion, and a subsequent deterioration of service levels to their communities. Their leaders have been probed by public interest groups, the media and governmental bodies, removed from positions of authority, and sadly, subpoenaed, vilified in public and even jailed. Patients, healthcare providers and hospitals have suffered through this period as well, and continue to search for alternatives to their largely monopoly suppliers. In most cases, the best alternative is the one they control themselves. Should hospitals collect blood components? Yes, since their mission—patient care—takes precedence over that of any non-provider healthcare organization. Patients and the public-at-large gain many things by the continued presence of hospitals in the provision of donor services: provider and patient needs are given first billing, and innovation in blood services is encouraged by the transfusion medicine physicians and allied health professionals who are closest to the patient. Service requirements are recognized and met faster and in simpler ways, and quality concerns are addressed with a minimum of bureaucracy and a maximum of common sense. Finally, when hospitals control their own donor programs, costs are more easily tracked and better controlled.
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