National Blood Authority

National Blood Authority has been selected as an ABA100 Winner for Supply Chain Management in The Australian Business Awards 2019. The Australian Business Award for Supply Chain Management [SCM] recognises organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that demonstrate excellence in supply chain management.

The National Blood Authority (NBA) is a statutory agency within the Australian Government Health portfolio that manages and coordinates arrangements for the supply of blood and blood products and services on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments.

The key roles of the NBA are to: provide an adequate, safe, secure and affordable supply of blood products, blood related products and blood related services; promote safe, high quality management and use of blood products, blood related products and blood related services in Australia.

Under the National Blood Agreement, blood and blood products are provided at no direct cost to patients. The blood sector is funded by the Australian Government (63%) and by the States and Territories (37%), with the funding provided by each State and Territory determined by the quantity of product provided to each particular State and Territory.

From a supply chain management perspective, under the National Blood Agreement, the NBA is required to ‘use best endeavours to manage the national blood supply to provide a sufficient level of supply to meet the demand in all states and territories and to ensure that patients continue to access the blood and blood related products their clinicians determine will best meet their clinical needs so far as practicable in accordance with national best practice based on clinical guidelines.’ The implementation of this nationwide product distribution framework is through centralised national supply contracts, with direction and assurance provided through NBA policy, governance, planning, monitoring, risk management, and active response functions, supported by specific purpose blood sector ICT systems and data analytics.

On behalf of all Australian governments, the NBA is responsible for ensuring access to Ig funded under the National Blood Agreement to patients who meet eligibility criteria, and where access to that product is authorised and traced through defined governance arrangements.

Maintaining security of supply requires the NBA to procure supply of Ig on behalf of all Australian Governments and manage contracts with suppliers of immunoglobulin products which it monitors closely to ensure that demand for product is always met. Contracts are developed in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, and managed with best practice guidance for contract management.

The NBA undertakes regular supply risk assessments and maintains operational and formal national levels of supply risk preparedness to address potential or emerging supply risk events.

The NBA funds the operations of the Blood Service through a Deed of Agreement (Deed) with the Australian Red Cross Society. The deed and supporting agreements outline the commitments of governments to meet the fair and reasonable costs of the Blood Service for the collection, production and distribution of blood products and services including those related to Ig use.

BloodSTAR is Australia’s national online Ig management system developed by the NBA and is a world first in Ig management encompassing all stages from supply to patient administration. BloodSTAR was launched in 2016, replacing paper based authorisation management processes.

Through BloodSTAR, prescribers within Australian hospitals and health services are able to determine whether patients are eligible to receive government-funded Ig and seek authorisation for access. Nurses, midwives, and dispensers of Ig products, also utilise BloodSTAR and BloodNet to manage infusion and dispensing practices to approved patients.

The ordering, dispensing and reconciling of Ig products is performed in the NBA’s BloodNet system which interacts directly with BloodSTAR. BloodNet is a web-based system that allows staff in health facilities across Australia to order blood and blood products in a standardised way and to do so quickly, easily and securely from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.

For many services, BloodNet/BloodSTAR systems also interact with directly with their own laboratory information systems, eliminating double entry, improving record keeping and traceability of product and saving valuable time.

The supply of Ig contract management and tender process, the establishment of the Ig Governance Program and the implementation of the Criteria in BloodSTAR have all contributed to meeting Program objectives.

The NBA’s undertakes a tender process every three years for imported Ig to renegotiate and ensure the best price and secure supply on behalf of all Australian Governments. Extensive preparations are undertaken for tender processes, including a review of the global market, obtaining information and customer feedback from suppliers and stakeholders on important issues, reviewing the current arrangements to identify where improvements might be gained (e.g. security of supply, safety and value for money) and using knowledge of normal supply chain and commercial arrangements of suppliers to design arrangements that suppliers can achieve and sustain.

The infrastructure and implementation phases of the Ig Governance Program are now complete and the totality of the Program elements now in place provides a robust and sustainable platform from which forward assurance, compliance and quality improvement activities will be driven over coming years, to progressively achieve the assurance, appropriateness, equity, efficiency and sustainability objectives of governments for the supply and funding of Ig as a unique, high cost, scarce biopharmaceutical resource which is critical and beneficial across many acute and patient conditions.

The Australian Business Awards are an annual comprehensive awards program which recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of established business and product award categories.

The Australian Business Awards are the national chapter of an integrated, hierarchical leadership initiative conducted on a national and international level. Eligible organisations are invited to participate in the international chapter of the program at The World Business Awards whereby participants are provided with the unique opportunity to benchmark themselves against the top performers globally.

The process culminates in the selection of organisations which implement world-class business initiatives, projects, products and services. The award recipients are recognised as the elite of their industry earning a place amongst a distinguished group by having their achievements acknowledged and celebrated.

Organisational eligibility includes private companies, publicly listed companies, multinational subsidiaries, not-for-profit organisations, non-government organisations, educational institutions, franchise systems, partnerships, government departments, government agencies, local government and statutory bodies operating in Australia.

Organisations are required to complete a submission for a specific business initiative, product or service.

Business initiatives can include but are not limited to projects, programs, processes, systems, technologies, developments, ventures and undertakings.

Products can include but are not limited to services, devices, equipment, programs, processes, activities, applications, information, knowledge, software, cloud-based services, platforms, systems and manufactured goods. Products must be commercially available on the Australian market and comply with all applicable Australian standards and regulatory requirements. Product eligibility includes domestic and international products available to the Australian marketplace.

The World Business Awards Framework (WBA Framework) is utilised as a structured model of assessment that enables the participating organisations to be benchmarked against world class performance standards.

The Framework consists of specialised assessment modules pertaining to the evaluation criteria for each of the award categories. The criteria and sub-criteria provide a robust set of requirements that are used as the methodology for benchmarking and learning among the participating organisations.

Organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement are recognised via a set of established business and product award categories.

The program provides a notable opportunity for high-performing organisations which implement world-class business initiatives and develop innovative products and services to be acknowledged and celebrated for their achievements both nationally and internationally.

Conducted annually, the program engages with organisations worldwide to benchmark the full spectrum of their products, services and initiatives and to review their business performance through a global recognition and knowledge building initiative that is underpinned by the program’s established framework.

The program provides the ultimate platform for building knowledge, increasing brand awareness, equity, loyalty and retention through increased exposure, recognition and prestige.

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