Message from the President
Looking Back While Planning for the Future
While Rhode Island Blood Center management and staff develop new projects and improve existing programs, it is useful to review our recent history to better understand our future plans.
Over the past several years the Blood Center, hospitals, and patients have received terrific support from all Rhode Island's volunteer blood donors. During this period the Blood Center has increased the number of blood drives throughout the state, opened new donor centers in Warwick and Woonsocket and embraced new technology that allows us to collect different blood products from different donors.
During the current recession and with major reforms to our healthcare systems likely in the future, there is increasing pressure on hospitals and other providers to operate as efficiently as possible. Transfusion medicine practices in hospitals will be fine tuned to ensure that the right blood products are available for the right patients at exactly the right time.
The Blood Center, working closely with our donors and blood drive sponsors, can help to ensure that hospital transfusion services work as efficiently as possible. Some of the improvements the Blood Center plans for 2009 will specifically address these changing hospital and patient needs.
- We will work with individual blood donors and platelet apheresis donors to optimize our collection schedules so platelet products (which must be transfused within five days of collection) are available during peak demand periods of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In particular, we will try to increase the number of platelet apheresis donors on Sundays.
- We will try to increase the number of type O donors who are eligible to donate double red blood cells. Type O red cells are the universal blood type and can be given to any patient. This will help hospitals manage emergency room and trauma patients when time of transfusion is critical.
- We will work with our blood drive sponsors to make sure we collect the right amount of blood during each month of the year. Having a balanced blood drive schedule is essential to meeting hospitals' needs each day of every week of every month. The Blood Center gets tremendous support from high schools and colleges in Rhode Island, and from businesses, religious and social service organizations. It is the latter groups that we rely upon more heavily during the summer months when schools are not in session.
By all measures of success (blood safety, availability and cost effectiveness) Rhode Island's blood program is among the best nationally. With the consistent support of blood donors and blood drive sponsors we will continue to meet the needs of the hospitals and patients we serve.