Assessing Productive Efficiency and Operating Scale of Community Blood Centers

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BACKGROUND In recent years demand for blood products has decreased, and as a result, the blood product marketplace has become much more competitive. Reducing inefficiency in the procurement and processing of blood products at blood centers can reduce costs while assuring that demand for blood products is met.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS This study uses data envelopment analysis to compare the productive efficiency of 65 community blood centers to determine to what extent efficiency can be improved, what cost savings and increases in platelet (PLT) production may be obtained by eliminating inefficiency, and what scales of operation are the most efficient from a budgetary and staffing standpoint. Data were collected from the 2012 to 2013 AABB Directory of Community Blood Centers and Hospital Blood Banks.

RESULTS The study found that 27 of 65 blood centers are efficient. The remaining 38 blood centers can reduce budget and staff levels and may be able to expand output. If inefficient centers were to eliminate all inefficiency, the total savings would be $671 million, approximately 20% of the aggregated budget ($3.45 billion) of all centers in the study. In addition, the centers would also see a 36% increase in PLT production. Inefficiency of some large blood centers stems from operating at too large a scale, while inefficiency of most small blood centers is scale independent. CONCLUSION The results suggest that reducing inefficiency in blood procurement may be a good strategy to maximize competitiveness in the blood product marketplace. These findings further suggest that the trend of blood center consolidation may be ill advised from a cost containment perspective.



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