December 30, 2014
The Alliance of Blood Operators (ABO) is a network of over 90 blood operators from America’s Blood Centers, American Red Cross, NHSBT, EBA and Australian Red Cross Blood Service. ABO seeks to be a high performing international collaboration of blood operators which drives local performance improvement, knowledge exchange and resolution of global strategic issues for the benefit of the patients and health systems served by its members. ABO is the initiator of the RBDM Project. Every so often, the Project team writes a communiqué on the progress of this immense work.
Testing the Framework
Since the last communiqué, the Risk-Based Decision-Making (RBDM) Project Team conducted consultation events with a broad range of stakeholders interested in the risk-based decision-making framework. The feedback we received has been rich and valuable and we are now using it to improve the framework. Our second focus was a feasibility test to “stress” the framework. The objective of this stress test was to identify if there were gaps in the framework or sections that needed to be adjusted.
Using a fictional scenario that described a newly emerging pathogen with the potential to negatively affect the blood supply, specially assigned teams stepped through the RBDM process, identifying the issues related to the scenario, developing the problem statement, identifying the risk management options and then undertaking relevant risk assessments. In the case of this scenario, it was determined that the range of assessments would include blood safety, operational, health economics, social concern, legal, regulatory, and stakeholder engagement. A “decision makers” group acted as a mock management team and used the assessments to make their recommendations to address the emerging issue.
All participants agreed the framework helped them logically think through the problem facing them and to gather the relevant information to make a good decision. The exercise did highlight a few areas where the framework could benefit from various refinements, a more user-friendly approach, and some additional tools, and we are making the necessary revisions. The plan is to release the final version of the framework no later than March 31, 2015. It will be available on the Alliance of Blood Operators website.
Sharing the Framework
Awareness building and targeted consultation is an ongoing activity. An event of note was a face-to-face consultation with a group of key regulators where we presented the framework and received positive and constructive feedback about use of such a tool.
The framework was also a focal point at the AABB annual meeting in Philadelphia where we held an education session, explaining key components of the framework such as the risk management foundations and framework structure, the importance of stakeholder engagement, and how health economics is used in the decision-making process. The session was well attended and many of the attendees visited the RBDM exhibitors’ booth to obtain more information.
Over the next two months our efforts will be devoted to finalizing the framework, incorporating the good ideas we received from the consultations and addressing the adjustments identified by the feasibility test. We also plan to have the framework peer reviewed by risk experts for a final level of assurance of its effectiveness before it is published.
The RBDM Project Team