Global Impact: Rebecca Rock, RN and SABM CFO talks with HPI about two roles across two countries
Rebecca Rock, like many others, stumbled into the world of patient blood management by accident. Working in critical care, in a corner of the recovery room where providers used to autologous blood donations for patients who were too high risk to have this done at the blood center, she learned about blood conservation. Taking an opportunity to help support the program, she led coordination of these blood donations. But it was through finding out about organizations like SABM that her world and understanding of patient blood management really grew. We came to realize that our approach was really not effective, it wasn’t the evidence-based method that we should be utilizing. And it was through my connection with SABM and my getting involved that we learned all of the strategies, the different approaches, and radically changed our program to fit that model to become a high-quality program.
Rebecca resides in Canada where the health system is supported in terms of administrative leadership and collaboration of resources in contrast to other parts of the world (like the United States) that have multiple hospitals under a system and the experience of a person walking into one hospital one block over might be very different depending on the policies, procedures and strategies in that hospital. In the Canadian system, we’re all connected, we all follow similar processes, similar standards, and we have similar connected funding model that supports us all. So, with patient blood management, it does allow us to make sure that if a patient is having surgery or a procedure in one hospital, their experience will be the same as a patient who walks into a different hospital. SABM offers standards of patient blood management, a quality guide of what a program should look like, and strategies you should be utilizing to continue to improve your programming. In any jurisdiction that might have a very varied and different system because of different hospital networks, SABM offers a solid foundation by which any organization can look to apply equal care for all patients.
From Donor Coordination to SABM CFO
Reflecting on her first SABM conference, Rebecca was amazed at the volume of information she’d found. In her words: she found her people. I found colleagues who were providing the evidence, providing the standards, who fought like me, believed like me, that this was a valuable approach to patient care and that it truly should be a standard. Following this first meeting, Rebecca found an international network of colleagues she could continue to learn from. She began attending future meetings, getting involved with committees and work groups, doing her part to expand the resources and support SABM offers – ultimately being elected as the organization’s CFO for 2020.
The mission and vision of SABM is to look beyond our front door, beyond our borders, to make patient blood management a global standard of care. We’re looking at how we can support patients worldwide so that no matter where they live, their blood is cared for and regarded as precious.
SABM offers numerous resources – patient brochures, educational webinars, a PBM certificate course, a website with standards, quality guides, guidelines for executives and administrative roles, and year-round opportunities for clinicians to get involved in committees or work groups. A person can learn all throughout the year about various strategies, the latest literature, and the newest developments in patient blood management.
The Value of Partnership
Rebecca expounds on the SABM mission by highlighting the incredible expertise worldwide through established partnerships. SABM is currently working with various organizations to develop global standards and definitions of patient blood management, reaching out to various organizations to identify how to best translate standards into multiple languages so that the information and resources can have a far bigger reach and opportunity among clinicians worldwide.
Partnerships allow us to have a louder voice, a stronger voice, a far more qualified voice, a voice that is full of resources and many opportunities to expand knowledge about PBM, raise awareness about the strategies, and call fellow clinicians to task to apply them for their patients.
We see no end to what we can do together.
Applying PBM Strategies RISK FREE
Rebecca is emphatic about the ability of any clinician to engage patient blood management strategies anywhere in the world. Strategies can be used when resources are low, when administrative support is limited, when there aren’t a whole lot of funds to go around or fantastic technology in the operating rooms or clinical areas.
A great feature of patient blood management is that many of the concepts involved are really simple and straight forward, as well as cost-effective; far more cost-effective than transfusion and the infrastructure that’s required around that which becomes even more important in emerging countries around the world. Patient blood management offers an opportunity to expect and demand an excellent standard quality of care without having to have an incredibly rich resources or funds.
In developed countries, we need to continue to create standards and support research that uncovers cost-effective, innovative solutions and technologies that can easily be applied in various countries.
This year marks the 14th annual Patient Blood Management Awareness Week (aka PBMAW). Between the sentiments Rebecca shares with HPI, it is clear it is important to celebrate and raise awareness as there is still much work to do. There is a culture in medicine that tends to continue the old way, the way we’ve always done it. We want to ensure that clinicians are basing decisions on evidence, using the most current information to provide the best care for patients. These awareness weeks keep our foot in the door, allowing us to be the squeaky wheel that gets everybody to listen and pay attention knowing there’s a better way.