D.C. hospital first to receive Joint Commission/AABB blood transfusion certification

The Joint Commission and the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks) has awarded its first Patient Blood Management Certification to MedStar-Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

According to the commission, the certification reflects “an evidence-based approach” to reducing unnecessary use of one of the most common procedure for an admitted patient—a blood transfusion. The Joint Commission has said “nearly 11 percent of all hospital stays with a procedure include transfusion,” with hospitals spending more than $3 billion on transfusion, even though it found that half of red blood cell transfusions are later found to be inappropriate.

“AABB commends MedStar Georgetown University Hospital for being the first U.S. institution to earn a patient blood management certification,” AABB President, Zbigniew Szczepiorkowski, MD, PhD, said in a statement. “Implementing a comprehensive patient blood management program helps institutions provide a higher quality of care to patients by avoiding blood loss, minimizing unnecessary blood transfusions and conserving blood for patients who actually benefit from transfusions.”

Onsite reviews for the certification last one day, according to program’s process management guide. Hospitals will need to be Joint Commission-certified to be eligible. AABB-accreditation is not a prerequisite, though for those facilities, an AABB surveyor will be involved in the review along with a Joint Commission inspector.

MedStar Georgetown is a 609-bed nonprofit acute care hospital. Its certification, along with any hospitals who meet the same standards in the future, will last two years.

“This distinction is a testament to the hard work of our associates who promote patient safety through a comprehensive blood management program that uses internationally accepted systems and techniques,” said Michael C. Sachtleben, president, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “Our patients benefit from this innovative certification that recognizes our commitment to continuously improve our processes and procedures when it comes to patient-centered blood management and services.”