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Sell me on AABB accreditation

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My facility is currently AABB accredited.  In this environment of everything being scrutinized for expense, I've been asked to justify AABB accreditation.  I think the inspections are much more rigorous than CAP, but otherwise, I can't put into words why we should continue.  If we did not continue our accreditation, we would still buy the standards and follow them, we just wouldn't have the inspections and stamp of approval from AABB.  Give me your best argument!  Thanks.

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Same thing happened to us a number of years ago - we dropped AABB.  Interestingly enough, our state regs regarding blood banks follow AABB standards, so we have to follow them anyhow.

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Other than the obvious (maintaining the highest quality standards):

1. Better, not just more rigorous, inspections. The assessors are trained and are required to do continuing education. It is a more process-improvement type of assessment, instead of just getting through a checklist.

2. Access to AABB services (publications, etc) at a reduced rate.

3. Networking with other BB professionals. Using consultation services if needed.

4. Discount for annual meeting. Yes, it's that good...ask if your hospital would pay or reimburse for at least part of this.

5. Support for Patient Blood Management.

Also, the Joint Commission uses AABB standards, so if you are already maintaining your standards, you should stay accredited to get the benefits of belonging to AABB.

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Ditto on Terri, particularly #1. I consider it a bargain for the price of 9 or so units of RBC. Use blood management practices to avoid 9 transfusions and it's paid for.

 

Phil

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I agree with Terri and Phil.  While my institution has dropped AABB and JCAHO (for quite a long time) I think that the benefits Terri mentions more than compensates for the cost.  As a former assessor I know that the training I received has helped my small institution of all generalists.  The annual meeting, though not quite as wild as in the previous century, has always provided GREAT sessions on almost any topic related to Transfusion Medicine.  It is unfortunate that the bean counters are calling most of the shots these days.  Don't let them force you out. 

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I agree with all of the above, and I will raise one other consideration:

I manage a small but vital blood donor center as well as the transfusion medicine service. Therefore, we are also FDA registered. AABB with their advisory groups, etc. are like a translator for the CFR and blood guidances' "legal-ese" that we have to maintain. I will always advocate us to keep AABB accreditation as long as I am involved with donor collections and also with perioperative collections (cell salvage, PRP, BMAC etc.)---I oversee their (surgical services) quality program as well as mine. If you are going to maintain the standards anyway, why not continue with getting the credit for it? As a resource for so many things, especially cost savings through blood management, it DOES pay for itself.....

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I must point out that you can get many of the benefits in the list above by paying to be an individual member.  

 

I am trying to determine if the extra inspection is worth the cost for us too. AABB takes such a different tack compared to Joint Commission (although TJC is moving a bit closer to AABB standards, they still aren't there). We irradiate blood and transfer tissues to our other hospitals so we are also FDA inspected.  They all have very different approaches.

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Mabel - you are correct when stating that the different regulatory agencies all have different approaches.  You can get a copy of the FDA training manual for BB inspections to see what they look for (basically that you follow your own procedures), JCAHO always just seemed interested in the transfusion process (thought I haven't been Joint inspected in quite a while).  AABB assessments have become more subjective since the inception of the Quality Plan - used to have a Yes/No checklist and citations were made by the area chair based on the checklist.  Now the assessor pretty much has the final say.  Personally I think the assessment is a much better tool than a checklist.  I have inspectors that just pore over my manuals. What a waste of time, in my opinion.  As an assessor I focused on the quality stuff - it's surprising how much info can be gleaned from looking at an institution's own assessments.  Granted, I always followed up on previous non-conformances and checked out new policies/procedures since the last assessment. 

 

I believe that the AABB process allows a lot more professional interaction between the assessor (vis-à-vis AABB) and the institution.  (Most of the time, granted there are assessors who don't get it).

 

I'm kind of rambling here - get the AABB Mabel.  It is not money wasted. 

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I can't give you a reason to keep it.   I think CAP is just as thorough. 

 

CAP is probably just as thorough HOWEVER many of the CAP inspectors have only the checklist to go by (and the on-line training to inspect - even the Team Leader).  The finer nuances in blood banking are sometimes beyond their consideration.  I have had comments like:  "you have too many manuals; my lab is a lot bigger and I don't have this many"! (I drew donors and did the disease testing/FDA licensed) - didn't make a dent.  Cited for not doing the timer checks on digital timers - duh, even the CAP standard is for analog but "I think it's a good idea".  ad nauseam.  Granted, CAP will remove such citations but you have to do the paperwork.  Some folks don't understand that the process is supposed to be a 2 way educational event also - and some folks do.  I can be rather abrasive if I feel the inspector is clueless and doesn't want to learn (even to interpret the standards).  I think I told one inspector that maybe I'd get to inspect her Blood Bank (hubris!).   Fortunately CAP now sends one of their team to do my BB or else someone who works in a large/university type setting. 

 

CAP is getting it - now they need to help the "peer group" get it also.  We are a small,  rural hospital but we do big time blood banking.

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