Keys to better blood pricing - 6 things to know about blood products

Hospitals use many specialized products unique to the industry and blood products may be chief among them. Understanding key points can help ensure you are getting the best price and reducing waste of these very unique products.

1. Blood price points vary across the country
While many products are standardized in price across the United States, the price of blood tends to vary greatly. The variability is due to many different factors, including local donor supply and transportation costs. Price inconsistency can be a challenge in reviewing contracts and negotiating best pricing. To ensure your facility is competitive, you may consider hiring a firm with external benchmarking data.

2. Understand your Utilization
Approximately 32,000 units of blood are used each day in the United States - do you know how many of those are in your facility? Understanding your utilization by day, week, month, and year can help you to best prepare the appropriate inventory and reduce waste.

3. Education is for Everyone
Because blood products are unique to healthcare, anyone working in your department without previous healthcare experience should be educated on the product’s unique properties and uses. However, education shouldn’t just be for purchasers. Key stakeholders, including physicians, nurses, and department managers, should be educated on the process of blood product purchase and inventory control - this will get everyone on the same team and can help for better system-wide decision making.

4. Inventory Control is Key
It is estimated that up to 1 of every 20 units of blood donated is thrown away. Throwing away blood products is not only expensive, but wastes a limited resource. Tight control of your blood product inventory can help to reduce and prevent waste. Due to the short shelf life of products, you should aim for a high inventory turn, and regular monitoring of blood product inventory should be part of your routine.

5. Consider Delivery Costs
Blood products have special requirements for temperature control, and thus can be expensive to ship. When negotiating contracts with blood vendors, be sure to address delivery costs and include them in your terms of agreement. Determining delivery costs up front can help prevent unexpected expenses from ruining your bottom line.

6. Blood Goes Beyond the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is the nation’s largest blood collection organization and supplies approximately 40% of the blood and blood products used in the US. They aren’t, however, the only blood collection organization. Finding other vendors may help to reduce your blood product pricing, especially if you are able to work with a smaller, local organization.

About the author:
George Malik, the CEO of Quality First Solutions, has been in the healthcare industry for the past 30 years and has saved millions for hospitals nationwide.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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