The primary written method that Canadian Blood Services uses to communicate new product implementations or operational changes that impact hospital customers is the Customer Letter process. Each Customer Letter is assigned a unique tracking number consisting of the year followed by a number starting with 1 for the first Customer Letter of the year (e.g. 2014-01). The header of the Customer Letter will indicate “Action Required” on the part of the hospital customer, or if the information is for “Information Only”.
Customer Letters are distributed to hospital customers by a combination of fax and/or email. As per CSA Z902-10, article 184.108.40.206, correspondence from Canadian Blood Services regarding blood and blood components must be retained indefinitely. Customer Letters distributed over the past 15-20 years can be viewed here.
Information specific to a local distribution site, such as routine blood delivery schedule plans during a holiday period, may be distributed as a notice or memo, and are distributed by fax and/or email.
Even with carefully formulated collection and production plans, unexpected short term and long term shifts in demand may result in blood system inventory challenges. The process for communicating information related to inventory challenges, using Inventory Advisories/Alerts, is defined in the National Plan for the Management of Shortages of Labile Blood Components, Communication section.