Patient Blood Management – Network creates patient safety and reduces costs

Berlin, 6 June 2018: The Capital City Congress 2018 saw the launch of the newly-founded pbm Academy and the awarding of the pbm Academy Sponsorship Prize 2018. Dr. Drabinski, Kiel, also presented the results of his healthcare economics report on Patient Blood Management.


Press release on the event

Passionate about greater patient safety

Blood ensures the regular supply of oxygen and nutrients to the organism. It is therefore particularly important to treat anemia before a planned operation and to preserve blood as a valuable resource during the intervention. In this way, blood transfusions, which put a strain on the immune system and are often linked to impaired wound healing and/or increased rates of infection, can be reduced or avoided altogether. This is precisely the reasoning behind the concept of Patient Blood Management (PBM). A report has shown for the first time that PBM could not only improve the quality of care and patient safety but also save [1] billions in terms of costs [2].

Patient Blood Management (PBM) has been recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2010 [3] and by the EU Commission since 2017 [4] as well as by two German expert associations [5]. Alongside the treatment of anemia, the concept covers measures such as:

  • The use of smaller test tubes for blood sampling or closed blood collection systems to preserve the body's own blood reserves;
  • Operating in a way that treats tissues gently, with as little blood loss as possible, and
  • the collection and cleaning of blood lost from wounds, which is then returned to the patient's body after the operation.

The entire health service profits

The initial results of the healthcare economics report "footprint PBM" were presented at the "Capital City Congress on Medicine and Health 2018". It claimed that in Germany the comprehensive introduction of PBM would save 13.725 billion Euros in costs. Dr. Thomas Drabinski from the Institute of Microdata Analysis (IfMDA) in Kiel offers a clear assessment: "The healthcare report on Patient Blood Management is clear: If anemia is present at the point of a planned operative intervention, the patient is five times more likely to require a blood transfusion". This means: Simply by avoiding anemia-related blood transfusions, costs of between 0.697 and 1.301 billion Euros could be saved while also improving patient safety.

Improving the quality of hospital care

The PBM concept would also have a direct impact on hospitals, explained Prof. Dr. Dr. Kai Zacharowski from Frankfurt University Hospital: "There are numerous immediately implementable measures that would directly save money and could be used to finance important investments such as the establishment of an anemia outpatient service."

The Director of Quality Management and Medical Controlling at Heidelberg University Hospital, Dr. Markus Thalheimer, also noted: "The introduction of Patient Blood Management is mostly being carried out by individuals who are passionate about the subject. In order to integrate the concept into everyday clinical life in the long term, PBM must also be embedded in the hospital structures and demonstrated in the form of key performance indicators. As well as the possible savings potentials, however, the overwhelming scientific evidence in terms of patient safety also suggests that every hospital should introduce Patient Blood Management."

pbm Academy – The foundation sets out to promote the comprehensive introduction of PBM

A newly-founded foundation featuring renowned experts from the fields of medicine, self-management, health insurance companies, hospitals, and healthcare economics has set itself the goal of driving PBM forwards across the whole of Germany. "The pbm Academy aims to help improve the treatment quality in German hospitals through a more consistent implementation of PBM and to maximise the savings potentials connected with PBM. Our goals are education, research, and support of multi-disciplinary concepts“, explained Michael Pröschel, Managing Director of the company Vifor Pharma Deutschland GmbH, which is funding the foundation.

Dr. Ursula Marschall, Head of Department for Medicine and Healthcare Research at BARMER, added: "Patient Blood Management is still a relatively unfamiliar topic both in the general public and also in many institutions. In the interests of healthcare quality and patient safety a great deal of clarification work needs to be done in this respect." Here, too, the Academy has an important role to play.



[1] Leahy MF et al. Transfusion 2017; 57;1347-1358.
[2] Drabinski Th. Lecture "Patient Blood Management – Healthcare Economics Footprint" at the satellite symposium of Vifor Pharma Deutschland GmbH, Capital City Congress for Medicine and Healthcare 2018. Data based on the FDZ [Research Data Centre] of the Federal and State Statistical Offices, DRG Statistics 2015: in-house calculations.
[3] World Health Organisation (WHO). World Health Assembly Resolution WHA63.12.
[4] European Commission – Directorate General for Health and Food Safety. Patient Blood Management (PBM) in the EU – A Practical Implementation Guide for Hospitals. Luxemburg 2017.
[5] Meybohm, P., Schmitz-Rixen, T., Steinbicker, A. et al. Chirurg (2017) 88: 867.

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