Vol. 12 •Issue 10 • Page 8
Progress in Transfusion Medicine
It’s gratifying to witness such profound advances being made in medicine, particularly with the laboratory industry. When faced with new challenges such as the personnel shortage or some emerging disease like West Nile virus, the laboratory rises to the occasion and offers solutions in automation sophistication, new assays, testing technologies and the like.
In this issue of ADVANCE, we tip our hats to the transfusion service industry in honor of the American Association of Blood Banks annual conference. Great strides have indeed been made in this field, with many more to come.
For example, innovative cost-containment strategies for transfusion medicine are shared in this issue’s cover story. Authors Colleen Slapak, MS, MT(ASCP)SBB, and Susan Wiljanen, MT(ASCP)SBB, describe how computerization in blood banking has come a long way and helps transfusion service managers lower costs while improving the quality of care.
They write, “Too often, administrators look at staff reduction as the easiest—and, therefore, the best—way to reduce costs associated with a transfusion service. As a result, managers are left scrambling to find unique ways of maintaining current levels of service with fewer staff members while adding to the workload of existing staff.”
Among their valuable expert advice, they suggest ways managers can contain costs in the department and convince administration that reducing the work force is detrimental to morale and cost prohibitive in the long run. In fact, they outline specific areas that should be examined to determine if computerization is being used effectively to contain staff costs and improve service levels.
Also in this issue, we examine the bacterial detection vs. pathogen reduction debate. As Assistant Editor Todd Smith writes, advances are occurring in each area, but deciding which is most appropriate may come down to a regulatory and/or market demand decision.
“Some experts contend that if pathogen reduction techniques were in place, there would be no role for bacterial detection because there would be no viable bacteria to detect,” explains Smith. “However, that argument could be turned around just as readily in that with effective bacterial detection techniques in place, the need for pathogen reduction should be minuscule. While some experts stand firmly on one side or the other, many believe that the two methods can coexist and be used to support each other.”
In addition to this topic, we explore the advantages and opportunities of today’s sophisticated image analysis systems. Challenges surrounding HIV testing, West Nile virus and tumor markers are additional topics covered in this cutting edge issue.
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