The Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS)

“Savings are in the Bag!”

The Alliance for Community Transfusion Services (ACTS) is comprised of eight independent blood centers across five states, formed to strengthen relationships between community blood programs and local hospitals. ACTS-member blood programs believe their collective knowledge and industry relationships with community donors and hospitals for the last five decades well-position them to produce best practices for the group. Efficiency, quality, cost-containment, and consistency of supply without sacrificing local customer service or quality are the focus.

Membership includes the following organizations: Carter BloodCare in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, Coastal Bend Blood Center in Corpus Christi, TX, Coffee Memorial Blood Center in Amarillo, TX, South Texas Blood & Tissue Center in San Antonio, TX, Central Texas Blood and Tissue Center, Austin, TX, Community Blood Center of the Ozarks in Springfield, MO, LifeShare Blood Centers of Shreveport, La, and Oklahoma Blood Institute of Oklahoma City, OK.


The Situation

At the recommendation of current customer Carter BloodCare, the management team at ACTS contacted TMAC to evaluate bag filtration systems. Two member locations using two different systems were selected; Carter BloodCare in the DFW Metroplex area and Community Blood Centers of the Ozarks out of Missouri. ACTS engaged TMAC to analyze the  processes and filters used at both locations. The purpose of the assessment was to provide ACTS the information and analysis necessary to make an informed decision regarding the use of Inline versus Sterile Dock Filtering bags. The ACTS team wanted to standardize the type of filtering bag and methods used across the entire organization.


The Solution

Carter BloodCare used Inline Filtering Bags. Community Blood Center used Sterile Dock Filtering Bags. Both systems had resource benefits and concerns. TMAC determined that an evaluation of processes, equipment and methodologies associated with both filtering methods was necessary to provide a broader perspective.

TMAC staff visited both facilities, spending time observing the process and talking with staff and process owners. Data gathered was used to create process maps and perform analysis of whole-blood processing methods at each facility. In addition related cost, production rates and capacity data were collected.

TMAC field specialists observed the biggest difference between the two processes were associated with the attachment of the sterile filter to the bag. The Carter BloodCare facility used a “Quad” bag with the sterile filter attached by the manufacturer. The Springfield, MO. facility used a process of connecting the filter to the bag which adds an additional time per bag to the process.



The results from the cost analysis revealed that Springfield’s cost for the sterile docked filtering bag was cheaper than inline filter bags used at Carter BloodCare. However, the processing time was shorter with the inline filter bag configuration. These results were presented to the team at ACTS with the following caveat:


“The decision regarding which process to use should not be made solely on unit cost per bag when examining the two blood component processing methods. Volume, cost, quality, culture, process design, and demand should ALL be considered when making a decision on what type of blood filtering system to use.”

Utilizing all the information gathered and analyzed, the ACTS team decided to pursue the inline filtering bag method. By leveraging the buying power of all ACTS network member organizations, management approached the manufacturer of the inline filtering bag with a request to reduce the pricing based on significant volume increase. With the increased quantity of inline filters purchased, ACTS was able to save significant dollars per year on bags purchased, thus making the inline bag a viable alternative for all ACTS Blood Care Centers.


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