Blood Banks Shift Strategy as Need Drops

Fewer elective surgeries, better medical devices lead to decreased demand
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2013 8:15 AM CDT
Blood Banks Shift Strategy as Need Drops
In this Aug. 20, 2013, photo, technician Greg Snyder finishes up a blood draw from Chris Page after he donated blood in an Indiana Blood Center Bloodmobile in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(Newser) – Here's something you might not expect: Blood banks generally aren't hurting for your business as of late. Thanks to fewer elective surgeries (blame the economy) and improved medical procedures that reduce bleeding during operations, blood banks are actually having to cut staff and reduce operations, the AP reports. Layoffs and closures have hit clinics across the country as demand dropped 8.2% from 2008 to 2011—an unexpected shift from just a decade ago.

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"The blood supply across the country is stronger than it has been in a long time," says a rep for Blood Systems in Arizona. But, she adds, "I hope that people don't read that news and say, 'Oh, there's not a need for me.' Because people need blood every single day." Now, however, the pitches to donors might be fewer in number but more specific. A clinic in Indiana, for example, offered O blood types a $10 gas card if they donated earlier this year. As one doctor puts it, the shift is "from a collect-as-much-as-you-can mentality to a collect-to-need mentality." (Read more blood bank stories.)

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