Where no one has gone before

Below is a note from Dr. Charlie Miraglia, president and CEO of Indiana Blood Center, who began this role in October 2015. He shares his bold vision for the future of Indiana Blood Center. 

I thought I’d share with you some of my vision for the future of Indiana Blood Center.  As most of you probably already know, I’ve been supporting Indiana Blood Center for over 20 years now in one or more capacities, first as a transfusion service director at Methodist hospital and later at Clarian Health.  Early in my tenure at Methodist, I also joined the Medical Advisory group for Indiana Blood Center and then in 1998 the Board of Directors, on which I’ve now served for over 15 years.  Clearly, I have, and will always support the mission of Indiana Blood Center, and now our affiliate partners at Versiti as well.

Healthcare is currently in the midst of a major transformation, one in which we, as a supplier of blood products, are deeply involved.  Quality – something we know and understand very well – and value, are being demanded of healthcare providers by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other payers.  The fee for service world that currently rewards the number of tests, scans, or procedures performed, is being systematically replaced by a pay for performance model that bundles episodes of care into reimbursable packages, requiring all providers to work together toward the common goal of treating patients until they have fully recovered.  Payment for that episode is then shared between all who were involved in the care.

At same point in the not too distant future, blood products will undoubtedly be a part of the “bundle”, so completely new risk-based partnerships with the hospitals we serve will need to be created.  The extensive transfusion medicine expertise of Indiana Blood Center and Versiti will be even more important in this new world, where the best possible outcome for each and every patient is truly the only goal of all healthcare providers.  Blood products will be transfused at the right time, in the right amount for those who need it – and only those who need it – minimizing wastage and optimizing care.  The value we as a blood center bring will go well beyond the delivery of blood products.

Technology will play a vital role in this new reality.  Think about all of the different sources of valuable healthcare data that exists today in hospitals, laboratories, radiology centers, and yes, even blood centers.  Unfortunately, it’s currently in silos, trapped in a wide variety of information systems.  Now also consider how much additional data is being collected by individuals on their smart watches and Fitbits, etc. for wellness purposes, and by patients being remotely monitored at home for their chronic illnesses.  This trend will continue until everyone is “connected” in one way or another.

Bringing together all of this data and making it available to providers wherever they are and whenever they need it will obviously improve patient care in the future.  In addition, leveraging the wellness data we are all eventually going to be collecting on our “connected” devices, and that from remotely monitored patients (and donors) will help prevent many problems before they occur or worsen, and minimize the progression of chronic diseases like diabetes through these earlier interventions.

Indiana Blood Center and our affiliate partners within Versiti are uniquely positioned to help collect and give healthcare providers visibility to much of the data to which I’m referring.  I can envision a day when the blood donation screening process contributes not only to the safety of the blood supply, but also to the health and wellness screening for large populations of individuals, identifying the potential for significant illness in the genome long before it manifests.  Much in the same way as we currently can match red cell genotypes from patients and donors, entire genomes will be examined for risks of developing cancers and chronic diseases.

This may all seem a bit like Star Trek, but we’re much closer to this reality than ever before.  I’m prepared to lead Indiana Blood Center into the “next generation” of healthcare, so I hope that each and every one of you is ready to “go boldly” where no one has gone before!

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