A message from our chief executive officer
and our chair
In 2014–2015, Canadian Blood Services continued to build on the positive momentum of the past several years, working effectively to deliver high-quality products and services safely and efficiently to Canada’s health-care systems. As a biologics manufacturer and provider of clinical services, we benchmark our performance not only in relation to the world’s top-ranked blood operators, but also against leading enterprises in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors.
This annual report highlights many indicators of concrete progress in areas where we have impact. To cite just a few examples:
- We collected more than 850,000 units of whole blood in 2014–2015, achieving 98 per cent of our target.
- The total cost of providing fresh blood components to Canadian patients was virtually unchanged from last year. At the same time, the number of labour hours per unit of blood collected declined slightly, as did the percentage of units that had to be discarded after not meeting our rigorous standards. These indicators confirm that our recent efforts to further enhance quality and productivity are beginning to yield results.
- Since 2007 the total cost of blood collection and production has grown by 25.6 per cent, which compares favourably to the overall 39.5 per cent gain in public-sector (non-drug) health expenditures calculated by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
- Over the same eight-year period, the cost of purchasing plasma protein products on behalf of our provincial and territorial partners has increased by just 9.9 per cent — notwithstanding last year’s dramatic shift in the exchange rate with the U.S. (where many of these products are manufactured).
We still have work to do in these areas and across our operations. But the results to date confirm that we’re moving in the right direction when it comes to finding new efficiencies — not despite our ultimate goal of achieving better patient outcomes, but precisely because we understand that efficiency and effectiveness are two complementary aspects of the same quality journey. As a result, we’re well down the road to realizing our goal of $100 million in saved and avoided costs by the end of 2017–2018 — while recognizing there will always be further opportunities to enhance, improve and innovate.
Extending our impact
In our campaign to help build Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank, the first major fundraising effort in our history, we achieved the ambitious goal of $12.5 million — our share of the $48 million committed by provincial and territorial ministries of health. At year-end, the bank was fully operational, with collection and processing facilities in four cities providing a new source of much-needed stem cells. At the same time, the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, the national registry managed by Canadian Blood Services, grew by 5.6 per cent year over year, to nearly 360,000 adult donors.
In the area of organ and tissue donation and transplantation (OTDT), we continue to see the positive impact from our collaborations with organ procurement organizations, transplant centres, health ministries and other partners across the country. For example, we saw a 70 per cent increase in the number of transplants facilitated by the Kidney Paired Donation program, one of three interprovincial organ transplantation programs supported by Canadian Blood Services through the Canadian Transplant Registry.
As we work with our partners to continuously improve the OTDT system, one critical piece still needs to be put in place: a pan-Canadian clinical governance framework for the allocation of organs. Canadian Blood Services has an integral role to play in developing and implementing this framework. We’re ideally positioned to coordinate efforts within a set of guidelines agreed upon by all system partners. We expect that we’ll soon be helping to establish a formal solution reinforcing transparency and accountability among all participants.
Measures of value
This annual report includes many objective measures of how we deliver value to Canada’s health systems, whether in terms of better patient outcomes, improved system performance or positive impact achieved with optimal cost-efficiency. An important gauge of our continued success is the approval of the institutions that ultimately provide quality patient care: in 2014–2015, we achieved a 98 per cent satisfaction level among major hospitals for the third consecutive year.
At the same time, as an organization founded 17 years ago to restore confidence in Canada’s blood system, we’re pleased to see the level of trust we inspire in the general public remains solid at 82 per cent — confirmation that the vast majority of Canadians believe we’re fulfilling the duty of responsible stewardship granted to us.
A comparable benchmark within Canadian Blood Services is employee engagement. Our annual survey measured a score of 73 per cent, which is three points above target and a sound indicator for organizations of similar scale in our sector, or indeed any sector. That most of our workforce remains engaged is especially gratifying given the amount of change — largely positive, albeit sometimes disruptive — that we’ve been through together over the past few years. The teamwork, creativity and commitment our people have demonstrated are not just healthy responses to change; they’re critical to driving it.
One exemplary member of the team who merits a special mention is Ian Mumford, our chief supply chain officer, who has been with Canadian Blood Services from the beginning, and who has announced his decision to retire in the fall of 2015. Ian’s executive responsibilities have spanned donor relations, corporate communications and all aspects of operations, and he continues to play a decisive role in our evolution as an efficient, innovative, quality-driven enterprise. In addition to being a respected leader, Ian is a champion of the organization’s values and an embodiment of the spirit of caring that inspires everything we do. He will be missed.
How we connect
The theme of our annual report, and indeed its format, capture how we strive to deliver value to Canada’s health-care systems. Canadian Blood Services is, first and foremost, a connector. We connect patients in need to the right blood products, and potential transplant recipients to registered organ and stem cell donors. We connect medical practitioners to proven best practices, and leading researchers to the latest insights from the front lines of treatment. In short, we connect the building blocks of quality to the ultimate goal of all health care: safe, reliable, effective solutions that offer patients hope for a better tomorrow.
The connections we make through collaborative partnerships reach far beyond the effective delivery of specific products and services. In the realm of OTDT, we’re helping to improve the system and establish effective governance. As a bulk-purchaser of drugs for the provinces and territories, we offer a paradigm for developing a transparent, cost-effective national pharmacare program. And as we work with our funding partners to evolve a pan-Canadian accountability agreement that better delineates our complementary roles, we’re developing a model for productive collaboration among independent public-sector organizations and policymakers across multiple jurisdictions.
By strengthening the vital links that give shape to our purpose, and by creating new connections where none existed before, we deliver sustainable value to all Canadians and to the larger world of health care.
Dr. Graham D. Sher
Chief Executive Officer
Chair, Board of Directors