£300,000 investment in new blood tracking technology

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is investing in a new blood tracking system that will help increase patient safety by minimising preventable blood transfusion errors.

The new £300,000 Olympus BloodTrack Courier system will be in place during 2009 and will be used on all blood issue fridges, with SafeTx via hand-held scanners on the wards, and is part of a national drive across all hospitals to reduce preventable blood transfusion risks.

Blood transfusion involves a number of important steps in giving the right blood to the right patient, and errors can be made at various stages. The new system involves the use of handheld computers to scan the patient's barcoded wristband which carries all the necessary information. When a blood sample is taken for cross matching the staff member scans their own badge, to record who took the blood, and the patient’s wristband and then they confirm the scanned patient information verbally with the patient. If all correct, bar-coded sample labels are printed.

When cross matched blood is allocated by the Blood Bank, the patient’s barcode is stuck on the pack. Before the transfusion is given, the bar-codes are scanned again and the computer prompts a series of checks. If the bar-codes match and the other identity checks are correct, transfusion can start. If they do not match, the computer flashes a warning.

The benefits of the blood tracking system are:

  • eliminates the sources of human error
  • ensures positive patient identification
  • ensures full traceability of every unit of blood
  • provides a full electronic audit trail with details of caregiver interactions
  • provides full compliance with the EU Directive on blood
  • reduces the time pressures on nursing staff
  • reduces blood wastage

Consultant haematologist Dr Martin Auger said: “Blood transfusions can be a life-saving treatment but the process does involve some risks and our new blood tracking system is designed to ensure that the right blood product invariably goes to the right patient.”

Tuesday 16th of September 2008 06:00:19 AM