As January is National Blood Donor Month, let’s talk about how technology can protect this precious gift.
Blood and blood products are a life-saving resource. As such, many hospitals maintain a central blood bank to ensure supplies are immediately available for patient care. However, this precious resource can be easily wasted, and patient safety can be compromised, if not stored within proper temperature ranges.
A real-time tracking system can significantly aid in successfully conserving blood and blood products during their transport and storage throughout the hospital. By knowing where the products are, how long they’ve been out, and alerting when nearing pre-designated thresholds, blood is no longer lost due to inattentive processes, and patients are assured access to blood when needed.
I encourage you to watch an interview with Dr. Emmanuel A. Fadeyi, MD FCAP Associate Professor of Pathology, Medical Director, Blood Bank, Stem Cell Transplant & Cellular Therapy Laboratories at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, in which he shares how a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) helps prevent blood wastage.
The Real-Time Location System (RTLS) we deployed there tracks the location and elapsed “time-to-expire” of portable coolers and provides reminders to return coolers containing unused blood before the coolant’s life span expires. Due to this improved process, Wake Forest Baptist Health significantly reduced blood wastage, protecting a precious gift from blood donors AND delivering cost savings of $167,844 during a 3-year period!
For more details regarding this best practice, please review the research paper, co-authored by Dr. Fadeyi, “Implementation of a new blood cooler insert and tracking technology with educational initiatives and its effect on reducing red blood cell wastage,” published in the Transfusion journal, a peer-reviewed publication of AABB.