Analysis and Improvement of Blood Collection Operations
Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Forthcoming
33 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 9, 2017
Due to the importance, limited supply and perishable nature of blood products, effective management of blood collection is critical for high quality healthcare delivery. In this paper, working closely with the American Red Cross (ARC), we study a blood collection problem focusing on whole blood that is to be processed into cryoprecipitate (cryo), a critical blood product for controlling massive hemorrhaging. In particular, we aim to determine when and from which mobile collection sites to collect blood for cryo production, such that the weekly collection target is met while the collection costs are minimized. The cryo collection problem imposes a unique challenge: if blood collected is to be processed into cryo units, it has to be processed within 8 hours after collection, while this time limit is 24 hours for most other blood products.
To analyze the cryo collection problem, we first develop a mathematical program to represent and compare two different blood collection business models, namely the status quo non-split model and an alternative model we propose, which splits each collection window into two intervals and allows different types of collections in the two intervals. Then, we establish several structural properties of the proposed mathematical program and develop a near-optimal solution algorithm to determine the cryo collection schedules under each collection model. Our extensive computational analyses based on real data indicated that, compared with the status quo, our proposed collection model can significantly reduce total collection costs. Based on this significant potential impact, our proposed collection model has been implemented by the ARC Douglasville manufacturing facility, the largest ARC blood manufacturing facility supplying blood to about 120 hospitals in the Southern US. Field data from post-implementation indicated that our proposed solution has resulted in i) reducing inconsistencies in supply of cryo collections, and ii) an approximately 40 percent reduction in the per unit collection cost for cryo. Due to this success, the ARC is now at the stage of rolling out our proposed solution approach to other regions in the nation.
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