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About Us

The Ontario Regional Blood Coordinating Network (ORBCoN) was launched in 2006 and the program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide an organized and integrated approach to blood management in Ontario through the engagement of hospitals and Canadian Blood Services. ORBCoN supports the implementation of the provincial Blood Utilization Strategy using the following five strategic goals: 1. Utilization of blood components and products; 2. Educational Resources; 3. Inventory Management; 4. Communication; and, 5. Quality and Safety.

ORBCoN’s Strategic Goals with Highlighted Projects

  • IVIG Utilization
  • Centralized Utilization Database
  • Data Strategy
  • Provincial Audits

  • Evaluation of Educational Resources
  • Maintenance of Existing Resources
  • Implementation of New Resources
  • Educational Events Hosted by ORBCoN
  • Educational Events - National or International

  • Contingency Planning
  • Benchmark Levels for Outdate Rates
  • Redistribution Program

  • Newsletter
  • Collaborative Hospital Site Visits
  • Distribution of Resources
  • Transfusion Ontario Website

  • Provincial Quality Strategy
  • Accreditation Requirements for Transfusion Medicine
  • Improve Patient Safety
  • Physician/Nursing Education Strategy

The network has developed resources with local, national, and international impact. ORBCoN has fostered strong relationships through building collaborative networks. ORBCoN strives to have regional representation across Ontario but often engages in national initiatives. Promotion and coordination of educational initiatives have facilitated the adoption of best practices for safe blood transfusion across Ontario.

ORBCoN has helped hospitals with strategies that identified utilization and wastage rates and solutions that resulted in the reduction of wasted products/components through best inventory management practices.

A multitude of educational resources and events have been facilitated by ORBCoN. Educational video conferences, symposiums, and access to transfusion medicine rounds are all supported by ORBCoN. In addition, our Blood Easy series are sought after guides to Transfusion Medicine education for health care professionals. ORBCoN provides online competency assessments and tools to improve standardized transfusion medicine practice.

ORBCoN has developed and facilitated redistribution programs of blood components and protein plasma products. ORBCoN provided validated shipping containers (previously not widely available) for the transport of blood components that has proven to be a driver of the redistribution programs success.

ORBCoN is very proud of their collaborative work ethic and has facilitated the development of many working groups that brings together a multidisciplined team of health care professionals. This has been shown in our recent successful collaboration on the Ontario Transfusion Quality Improvement Plan with Choosing Wisely Canada; Massive Hemorrhage Protocol working group; and, our past groups such as the Platelet Task Force.

A vast array of toolkits that aid in best practices have been established and more are under development. These can be found in the Resources section.

ORBCoN’s accomplishments have included the development and sharing of resources that directly support hospitals in their compliance with blood regulations, standards and accreditation requirements.

Each year ORBCoN develops a work plan and prioritizes initiatives that will align with the Ontario Blood Utilization Strategy and our mission, vision and values.

Mission

Inspiring and facilitating best transfusion practices in Ontario.

Vision

We do our work in support of our vision of appropriate and safe transfusion practices for every Ontarian, every time.

Values

Patient Safety: We promote optimal transfusion practices for the best patient care.

Accountability: We share accountability with providers, hospital partners, the Ministry and Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to continually improve the blood system in Ontario.

Leading Practice: We use evidence to inform what we do, produce and share.

Collaboration: We cultivate relationships and support sharing knowledge and expertise for better outcomes.

Quality: We strive to produce supports that help our users achieve desired outcomes and continuously improve quality.

Committees, Regional Meetings, and Working Groups

ORBCoN’s Steering Committee was established to provide review and oversight of planning the project workplan as well as project and financial reporting. This committee holds at minimum one face to face meeting and tele/video conferences as required to review proposals, budgets and reports to ensure projects undertaken are of benefit to the stakeholders in the transfusion community within Ontario and are consistent with the provincial blood utilization strategy.

Regional Advisory Committees provide more opportunity for direct and regional stakeholder feedback and advice. This provides a forum for those within each region to discuss issues and concerns (some may be region specific). ORBCoN provides this feedback to the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Blood Consultation Group or other relevant advisory groups.

To ensure program stability and cohesiveness, the ORBCoN teams from all three offices meet in person throughout the year. Each region will host one face to face meeting (virtually if required) each year. The team engages in virtual team meetings and teleconferences in addition to these valuable face to face meetings that bring our three offices together.

ORBCoN has a large presence and is well represented on various groups or committees. Through this participation, ORBCoN is able to contribute to provincial strategies and to share the Ontario initiatives with others as well as gain insight into other provincial projects and initiatives. By sharing efforts made and avoiding duplication of effort, blood programs and hospitals alike can benefit across Canada.

ORBCoN will continue to respond to the need for ad hoc working groups as they arise to ensure hospital stakeholders are represented and have adequate access to information and to act as the conduit for communication between the various stakeholders within the blood system.

These meetings are organized by the hospitals within the Central and Southwest each region and are held quarterly. Representatives from ORBCoN and CBS are invited to attend and provide updates. These forums offer an opportunity to network with hospital customers and provide insight into current issues or topics of interest.

Includes participation on the Ontario Emergency Blood Management Committee (OEBMC). This provincial working group’s mandate is to maintain the Ontario Contingency Plan for the Management of Blood Shortages and to plan and hold periodic provincial blood shortage exercises and prepare provincial reports.

Renewed in 2011, the previously named Ontario IVIG Working group has become formalized into an Advisory Panel. Through the lead region for IVIG utilization management, ORBCoN provides ongoing secretariat support to this panel, in addition to implementing the IVIG strategy in cooperation with the rest of ORBCoN. At least one face to face meeting including the ad hoc members will be held, along with minuted monthly conference calls.

OBCG was formally known as the Ontario Blood Advisory Committee (OBAC) and was established in 2006 to serve as a broad based external advisory group to the provincial Ministry of Health blood programs office on blood system issues. Membership is representative of the various regions in Ontario and multiple disciplines within transfusion medicine, anesthesiology, transfusion specialist, hematology laboratory services, nursing and consumers. OBCG is mandated to provide evidence based advice to assist with prioritization of blood related issues and setting the strategic direction for the provincial blood program and to recommend and support implementation of effective strategies to address issues.

All ORBCoN regions meet quarterly with the CBS Hospital services group and the Ministry of Health to ensure open and transparent communication and timely resolution of any issues of joint interest that may arise. Meetings are arranged and minuted in collaboration with CBS in rotation between regions.

National face to face meeting of Provincial Blood Offices meeting occurs once a year in addition to a mid-year teleconference. By participating in these meetings, ORBCoN will continue to: provide reports on the status of Ontario's blood coordinating projects; collaborate with other blood offices on common blood utilization strategies to improve practice, including national working groups for IVIG and education resources; share information on issues and approaches; and, share resources to minimize duplication of effort.

Network Personnel

ORBCoN is comprised of three regional offices across Ontario. Each office operates with a Project Sponsor, Regional Manager, and Regional Project Coordinators. One regional office is our program lead. In addition, housed in our Northern and Eastern Ontario office we employ a website administer and program administrator. Clinical expertise is available from our Physician Clinical Project Coordinator and the Nursing Clinical Project Coordinator.

Central

Dr. Jeannie Callum
Project Sponsor jeannie.callum@sunnybrook.ca

Troy Thompson
Regional Manager troy.thompson@sunnybrook.ca
289-339-6648

Dr. Allison Collins
Clinical Project Coordinator
Transfusion Medicine Physician
allison.collins@sw.ca

Stephanie Cope
Regional Project Coordinator
stephanie.cope@sunnybrook.ca
289-314-3734

Alison Wendt
Regional Project Coordinator
alison.wendt@sunnybrook.ca
647-998-6746

Northeast

Dr. Antonio Giulivi
Project Sponsor
agiulivi@toh.ca

Wendy Owens
Program Manager
wowens@toh.ca
613-668-1026

Tracy Cameron
Regional Project Coordinator
tcameron@toh.ca
613-668-1021

Andrew Duyvestyn
Website Administrator
aduyvestyn@toh.ca
514-992-7753

Southwest

Dr. Donald Arnold
Project Sponsor
arnold@mcmaster.ca

Rebecca Barty
Regional Manager
bartyr@mcmaster.ca
289-962-2604

Donna Berta
Clinical Project Coordinator
Nursing
bertad@mcmaster.ca
289-237-4010

Laurie MacLeod
Regional Project Coordinator
layoung@mcmaster.ca
289-339-5736

Sheena Scheuermann
Regional Project Coordinator
sanders@mcmaster.ca
905-928-0538

Other Ministry of Health Blood Programs

ONTraC logo

The Ontario Transfusion Coordinators (ONTraC) program is a provincial patient blood management program that enhances transfusion practice by interacting with physicians, nurses, and patients to promote patient blood management and alternatives to transfusion. Established in 2002, ONTraC is a unique initiative supported by the Ministry of Health. It is a network of nurse coordinators in 25 hospitals across the province who are responsible for implementing and managing patient blood management programs within their institutions. The program focuses on treating preoperative anemia in patients undergoing elective joint replacement surgery, cardiac surgery, and gynecological surgery. The program has been successful in reducing transfusion rates, improving clinical outcomes and has proven to be cost effective.

For more information please visit the ONTraC website at www.ontracprogram.com.

Factor concentrate products are very expensive. The objective of this program is to eliminate the expiry of factor concentrates in Ontario through the FCRP. Together with ORBCoN, the FCRP Coordinator aid in the redistribution and will work with hospitals and Canadian Blood Services to arrange shipping of any near outdating product. The FCRP Coordinator works closely with the Regional Hemophilia Programs to ensure it is used before expiry.

For more information please contact the Hemophilia Provincial Coordinator, Sarah Crymble at sarah.crymble@unityhealth.to.

TTISS-ON logo

The Ontario Transfusion Transmitted Injury Surveillance System (TTISS-ON) is contacted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and is committed to the development of a comprehensive program for reporting Adverse Transfusion Events (ATEs) in Ontario as an important part of the national hemovigilance system implemented in 2001 by the Infectious Disease Prevention & Control Branch of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

To report a transfusion reaction, find out what reactions to report or become part of the TTISS-ON participating hospitals, more information is found at www.ttiss.mcmaster.ca.

For more information contact Joanne Duncan, MSc, CCRP, HRM, TTISS-ON Coordinator at duncanj@mcmaster.ca.