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Safety Technology for Blood Transfusion

Posted Apr 13 2011 12:33pm

Blood transfusion is highly important procedure in medical industry, especially during emergencies. Most of the times, the hazards concerned with blood transfusion include diseases transmitted through blood transfusion-. These include prior diseases, HIV and emerging viral pathogens. As such, doctors, hospitals, legislators and public health departments are always lobbying up to implement the latest blood transfusion technologies. Let’s discuss some of these technologies.

Why theLatest Technology?

  • Errors during blood transfusion are common.
  • These errors can be classified as either “lapse” or “cognitive” errors.
  • From labeling of blood bottles to giving the wrong/infected blood, transfusion errors have immense damage potential.
  • Presently, the bedside check has to be performed without any major technological tool.
  • Bedside monitoring, however, has seen considerable use of technology.
  • Blood transfusion has mostly being ignored till date. However, things have started to improve and looking positive.

Improve Blood Transfusion Final Bedside Check

Perhaps the most common error is that resulting from an ill maintained transfusion administration. This can cause wrongly labeled blood being given to the recipient.

The state hospitals have laid out guidelines which other hospitals have to comply while undertaking blood transfusion. This is the only way to remove any human error.

However, with the introduction of the digital patient monitoring systems, the blood group errors are being reduced.

These systems store the basic patient information like matching wristband identification, positive patient identification and other patient identification facets.

With improvements in this technology, we will see a drastic decrease in the number of blood transfusion errors.

Non-Computerized Technology

  • This technology aims to lower the mis-transfusion accidents.
  • This system consists of a plastic combination lock which can be opened only by authenticated user to access the transfusion bag.
  • Also, there is a 3-letter code written on the patient’s wristband which further reduces the chances of error.
  • The code has to be the same in order to access the blood bag.
  • When blood has to be transfused, the plastic lock will be unlocked only when the 3-letter code is entered into the lock.
  • Patient’s other health and prescription related information can also be accessed using this method.
  • This lowers down the patient’s security risks also.
  • Most of the modern hospitals have started implementing this system due to the increased safety it offers.


Bar Code Check

  • Bar coding technology has become a standard technique used extensively in laboratories around the world.
  • However, outside the lab, health workers still prefer to use the human eye technology to deliver blood bag.
  • So, for this technology to be effective, two types of changes have to be done.
  • First, all the major hospitals have to start implementing the patient wristband technology so as to classify patients and give them unique identity numbers.
  • This can also include radiofrequency identification tags for each patient.
  • Secondly, hospital staff has to be taught to integrate the new techniques into their daily routine.
  • The bar code technology can make blood transfusion as simple as buying grocery from the store; where you just have to move the bar code reader above the purchased product to know its price.

Radio-frequency Identification

  • This technology also consists of patient tags.
  • Radiofrequency identification tags, once implemented, will carry patient information in a manner similar to the above mentioned bar code technique. But they have more advantages.
  • These radio tags can store considerably more information; they boast a read-write function and are highly user-friendly since they do not require direct line-of-sight reading.
  • They can greatly help with item tagging and asset tracking.
  • They can also emit waves that can help patients in extremely distressed conditions.
  • The radio tags that emit waves are known as ‘active tags’ and they require battery to be integrated to the tag.
  • Patient tracking and information collection will be taken to a whole new level if this technology is implemented.

Blood Sample Collection Technologies

Blood sample collection is another region which can cause major errors. This is an initial step and can cause problems from the very beginning. Giving the wrong blood to a patient can cause serious health concerns.

Here, there are two types of errors: mis-collected tubes and mis-labeled tubes. Both have high potential danger levels. Technology has so far not been able to provide much help here.

Blood collection and labeling are largely human monitored. People need to store and process much of the information related to the blood bank.

Also, when blood bags are being labeled, most of the process is done with hand. There is a need to develop sophisticated data management and processing technologies to aid blood collection and sampling.

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