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KUAH to build ‘minimal transfusion surgical hospital’[Change needed in blood management system④] 
KUAH head vows to make the hospital Asia’s best in PBM
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2018.01.30 15:47
  • Updated 2018.01.30 15:51
  • comments 0

Korea University Anam Hospital (KUAH) said it would become the nation’s first to build a “minimal transfusion surgical hospital” that adopts the Patient Blood Management (PBM) system. There are “transfusion-free” hospitals, but no hospital has a PBM system in Korea.

KUAH plans to set up a task force for the construction of the minimal transfusion surgical hospital in March and discuss how to adopt PBM for six months.

Park Jong-hoon, president of the KUAH, is leading the hospital’s PBM push. Taking office on Jan. 1, Park said he would “make the safest hospital in Korea.” PBM is one of the tools to achieve his goal, he said.

Since Park worked as a professor at the Orthopedics Department, he has been claiming that surgeons should minimize blood transfusion. His argument had nothing to do with any religion. He came to believe in minimal transfusion from his experience and knowledge in advanced countries where hospitals made an effort to minimize blood transfusion. He also learned from clinical evidence that minimal transfusion led to better patient outcomes.

Park Jong-hoon, president of the Korea University Anam Hospital, announces that the hospital would adopt the Patient Blood Management system and establish a “minimal transfusion surgical hospital,” at the Yookwangsa Hall, College of Medicine at Korea University, on Jan. 19.

“Six years ago, a vice president of a Swiss pharmaceutical company, which developed high-dose iron injections, came to me and asked why he couldn’t sell high-dose iron injections in Korea. He asked me why Korea did not make efforts to minimize blood transfusion,” Park said. “At that time, I couldn’t understand his words. But after I studied in Switzerland for two years, I got to learn what he meant.”

From 2015 to 2017, Park worked as the hospital’s medical planning chief. He applied a blood management program to clinical care, asking medical staffs to record the reasons for prescribing blood transfusion and indications. However, he could not force all of the doctors to use the program and only several departments, including Orthopedics, did so.

The limited use of the blood management program made Park aspire to become the hospital’s president. If he becomes the leader, he could push for the hospital’s adoption of PBM, he thought. Immediately after his inauguration on Jan. 15, Park began persuading doctors at the hospital for the PBM adoption.

On Jan. 19, Park made a presentation about the PBM in front of surgeons, anesthesiologists, diagnostic medical specialists, and nurses, at the Yookwangsa Hall, College of Medicine at Korea University. Park explained what kind of efforts hospitals have been making to minimize blood transfusion in advanced nations such as the U.S. and Australia since 2013.

“There is a study that showed simply reminding doctors of the guideline to transfuse blood when the hemoglobin level is less than 7 g/㎗ reduced the amount of blood transfusion by 24 percent,” Park said. “In the U.S., doctors discovered that excessive blood sampling was one of the reasons for the drop in hemoglobin levels in patients admitted to the intensive care unit. So, they are now trying to minimize it.”

Before he learned about PBM, he used to give 6.9 pints of blood to a surgical patient on average. But after applying PBM in 2013, the amount of blood use went down to 0.15 pint per patient, he noted.

“To correct the patient’s anemia, I used iron shots. During operation, I used Cell Saver, a self-transfusion device. This is how I minimized blood transfusion,” Park said.

Park said the minimal transfusion surgical hospital under PBM would enhance KUAH’s competitiveness. It will benchmark Englewood Hospital in New Jersey in the U.S., he said.

“On its homepage, Englewood Hospital says it offers minimally invasive surgery and transfusion-free surgery. The Johns Hopkins Hospital was also PBM-certified by the Joint Commission and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB),” Park said. “Just like Englewood Hospital, we have to make a minimal transfusion surgical hospital to become more competitive. I want to turn our hospital into Asia’s best one in PBM.”

For a start, the hospital will establish a task force in March to prepare for the construction of a minimal transfusion surgical hospital and discuss the matter for six months, Park said.

“We can’t force surgeons to use PBM from the beginning. I will let only those who want it to use the system voluntarily. Our goal is to minimize transfusion and use blood appropriately, not to ban transfusion,” he added.


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