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Roll Up Your Sleeve to Save a Life

Roll Up Your Sleeve to Save a Life

After declaring the nation’s first-ever blood crisis in early 2022 and the worst shortage in over a decade, the American Red Cross and other blood donation organizations continue to plea for blood donors. In Michigan, blood donations fell with the start of COVID-19 and continue to lag pre-pandemic levels.

Based on data from the Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood or platelets every two seconds, resulting in approximately 29,000 units of red blood cells, 5,000 units of platelets, and 6,500 units of plasma required daily. And, while an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S., or 3% of eligible individuals, donate blood each year, more donors are always needed!

Figure 1.

According to the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies, donating blood is a safe, simple, and rewarding experience that usually only takes 45-60 minutes. During a typical whole blood donation, approximately 0.5 liters of blood is collected. For donations of other blood products, such as platelet or plasma, the amount collected is based on the donor’s height, weight, and platelet count.

Along with helping others in need, blood donation also has some surprising health benefits, including:

  • A free mini health screening: before donating, potential blood donors receive a brief physical exam that includes taking blood pressure, body temperature, and pulse to ensure they are fit for donation.
  • A healthier heart and vascular system: in hypertensive individuals, regular blood donation has been linked to lower blood pressure and may lower the risk for heart attacks.
  • A happier, longer life: people usually donate because it feels good to help others and altruism has been linked to positive health outcomes, including a lower risk for depression and greater longevity.

Figure 2.

Alternatively, to help protect the limited supply of blood, reduce costs associated with the collection and administration of blood products, and reduce patient complications of allergic, febrile, and hemolytic reactions, restrictive transfusion practice or conservative blood use can be considered. This practice, recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Choosing Wisely campaigns, uses the two major clinical decision points of hemoglobin concentration when transfusion should be considered and the number of units being transfused.

Whilst evidence suggests there is no increase in morbidity or mortality by following restrictive transfusion practices, outcomes related to the quality of life, symptoms of anemia, and length of hospital stay are not as well studied.

Some examples of multimodal interventions to reduce unnecessary blood transfusions include the START (Screening by Technologists and Auditing to Reduce Transfusions) study which produced guideline development, education for clinicians, prospective order screening, and immediate feedback to physicians for potentially inappropriate orders, and monthly feedback to the clinical teams on appropriateness. Secondly, an Australian system-wide initiative focusing on education, practice audits, and feedback for individuals and a policy promoting single-unit red blood cell transfusions showed success. Other blood management approaches including anemia prevention, iron supplementation for iron deficiency, and a reduction in blood loss during procedures are other methods that can be used.

To implement strategies for reducing the unnecessary use of transfusions, individuals should assess their own practice against evidence-based standards. Additionally creating a multidisciplinary team to discuss and set guidelines and protocols based on evidence, auditing practices against identified evidence-based standards and tailoring interventions to the institutional setting and context can help with the implementation of restrictive transfusion practices.

Until we can find an alternative source or increase supply, we will continue to need people to step up and donate.

Figure 3.

If you plan to donate blood, a few helpful tips can make for a better experience:

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated makes it easier to find your veins and prevents you from becoming light-headed after donating
  • Eat well beforehand and be sure to eat snacks offered to you.
  • Get a good night’s sleep and, if you are planning to exercise, do so before donating, not after.
  • Take iron tablets. The American Red Cross recommends individuals who donate blood frequently take an iron supplement or a multivitamin with iron.

Typically, donors are eligible to donate blood every 56 days or up to six times per year. To find a blood donation site near you, visit the American Red Cross or your local donation center. Every drop helps!

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Reflecting on MVC’s Accomplishments: January-June 2022

Reflecting on MVC’s Accomplishments: January-June 2022

As we start the second half of 2022, the MVC Coordinating Center is taking a moment to pause and reflect on the tremendous work that has been accomplished over the past six months. Here is a look back at some of the highlights.


MVC Workgroups consist of a diverse group of representatives from Michigan hospitals and POs that meet virtually to collaborate and share ideas related to various topics. January kicked off with the launch of MVC’s new Health Equity Workgroup! The inaugural meeting featured speakers from the Michigan Social Health Interventions to Eliminate Disparities (MSHIELD) Collaborative. The Health Equity Workgroup has two more meetings in 2022 and we’d love to see you there! Visit the MVC 2022 Events Calendar to register and check the calendar for additional Workgroup offerings focused on Chronic Disease Management, Diabetes, Health in Action, Joint Replacement, and Sepsis.


MVC launched two new push reports in February, with the release of the new Physician Organization (PO) Colectomy Report, shared with 35 of MVC’s PO members, and the first-ever Pneumonia Push Report, distributed to 89 MVC hospital members[1]. To meet the needs of MVC’s growing hospital members, a subset of the Pneumonia Push Reports was tailored to meet the specific data needs of our Critical Access Hospital members.


After completing 58 hospital site visits in 2021, MVC announced the creation of a robust quality improvement (QI) initiatives database, developed to track QI initiatives across the collaborative. The database, searchable by QI focus area and project status, allows MVC to understand common themes and challenges among all its members as well as within subgroups such as hospital size or region. In 2022, the MVC team is hosting site visits with our PO members and will be gathering QI initiatives to add to the QI initiatives database. The database is being used as a resource for custom analytic requests and a library of practice standards for members. If you are an MVC PO interested in participating in a virtual site visit, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center to schedule.


In April, MVC distributed a refreshed Sepsis Push Report, developed in collaboration with the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium. These customized reports provide hospitals with new insight on demographics for their sepsis patients, including the percentage of COVID-positive patients to illustrate how COVID has impacted their sepsis data, along with race, top comorbidities, and most common zip codes, stratified by payer.


MVC held its first collaborative-wide meeting of 2022 in May, with a focus on “Turning Data into Action.” Held virtually, a total of 158 leaders representing 68 different hospitals and 15 physician organizations (POs) from across the state of Michigan participated in the event. Save the Date for our next in-person collaborative-wide meeting, scheduled for Friday, October 28th at the Radisson Hotel Lansing!


In June, the MVC Coordinating Center hosted its first in-person event since 2019, with a Regional Networking Dinner for our Eastern Michigan sites (Region 3). The dinner provided an opportunity for MVC hospital and PO members to come together to network, share ideas and discuss key priorities, including health equity initiatives. MVC’s next Regional Networking Event for Southeast Michigan (Region 4) is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27th. For identification of your MVC designated region, please see the MVC Regions Map here.


Along the way, the MVC team has been hard at work preparing for two new exciting developments:

  • MVC’s first Northern Summer Meeting (RSVP here) is scheduled for Thursday, August 18th at Traverse City’s Great Wolf Lodge. The agenda is tailored to highlight unique opportunities and challenges facing the Northern Michigan healthcare community. Interested MVC members serving Northern Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, and small/rural communities are encouraged to The University of Michigan Medical School designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  This meeting will feature presentations from:
    • Michigan Center for Rural Health
    • MyMichigan Medical Center – Sault
    • Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital
    • Region 9 Area Agency on Aging

To learn more about these initiatives and other MVC happenings, visit the MVC blog!


[1] Hospitals and POs not meeting case count thresholds did not receive a report.

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MVC Welcomes Associate Program Manager Erin Conklin

MVC Welcomes Associate Program Manager Erin Conklin

Inspired by the Michigan Value Collaborative’s (MVC) vision and mission, I am thrilled to join the team as Associate Program Manager. In this newly created role, I will be responsible for supporting the management, performance, and daily operations of the MVC Coordinating Center.

After receiving my Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Michigan-Flint, I began my first role in the healthcare space at the Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC), a collaborative, cross-sector organization dedicated to improving the health status of Genesee County residents. This experience provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about a wide range of public health issues, such as the impact of social influencers, the complexity of care navigation for patients with mental health and substance use disorders, and the role of systemic racism and racial disparities in care. I gained valuable skills in project management, strategic planning, sustainable implementation, and partnership development.

Following my tenure with the GFHC, my career focused on managing quality and operational improvement initiatives that aimed to improve health outcomes through patient-centered, value-based care at leading institutions, including Michigan Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital. This work included implementing new payment and service delivery models, such as the Pioneer ACO Model initiative and the Innovation Advisors Program, in partnership with the CMS Innovation Center. I also had the opportunity to support provider engagement and the expansion of evidence-based care delivery models across Michigan with the Centering Healthcare Institute and Michigan Opioid Partnership.

I am excited to serve as MVC’s new Associate Program Manager. I look forward to learning and collaborating with members, key stakeholders, and partner organizations to advance the mission, vision, and values of MVC. If you have any questions or wish to get in touch, please feel free to email me.