Blood Management Programs Extend Marketing Efforts: Patients Choose Bloodless Medicine for Non-Religious Reasons
by Sheryl S. Jackson
Although the primary audience for bloodless medicine and surgery programs is the Jehovah’s Witness population, as well as other individuals who will not accept blood products based on religious convictions, the general community is another audience to which hospitals can market bloodless programs.
Patient blood management programs represent a higher standard of care, explains Jan Wade, blood management program consultant. “Minimizing the use of transfusion not only eliminates the risk of allergic reaction or overperfusion, but also decreases the length of a hospital stay, which reduces cost,” he explains. Another benefit is better management of blood product resources. “Most blood banks can’t handle major disasters such as a bus wreck or traffic pileup because supplies are limited. If physicians use alternatives to blood products, blood banks are better equipped for emergencies,” he adds.
“The base of any bloodless program will be Jehovah’s Witnesses because they want the service and are willing to travel and pay for it,” admits Wade. “However, there is less awareness of the benefits of blood management throughout the general community, so there is an opportunity to point out the health benefits as well as resource management issues.”
Wade’s advice is to market to the entire community, not just religious segments. “I also recommend using the term ‘blood management’ as opposed to ‘bloodless,’ because it is more strategically aligned with goals in the health care community,” he suggests.