College of American Pathologists
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  Companies fashion features to beef up
  blood bank systems


CAP Today




September 2008
Feature Story

Anne Ford

Next time a distracted pedestrian with a cell phone almost stumbles into you, oblivious to everything except the text message he or she is reading, quell your irritation with this thought: There’s a chance the oh-so-urgent words on that screen aren’t “c u 4 lunch?” but “Please consider donating blood.”

That’s thanks to innovations such as Global Med Technologies’ eDonor donor-management platform, which uses text messaging to reach potential donors via their mobile phones. “Donor centers have a very savvy younger donor pool available to them, but attracting them has been a challenge,” explains Nancy Holland, product analyst for Wyndgate Technologies, a division of Global Med. “To attract a younger donor pool, gain their attention, and retain them as long-term donors, systems are needed that use technology they understand.” Namely, texting.

Text messaging represents just one of the technological enhancements offered by companies in the following CAP TODAY survey of blood bank information systems. Automatic crossmatching, modules for handheld devices, wireless functionality—they’re all here.

On the wireless front, Meditech’s Laboratory software application, which hosts its client/server and Magic blood bank modules, includes a wireless phlebotomy feature, released for version 5.6. “It allows phlebotomists to easily drill down from location to patient and view all the specimens listed for the patient while at the bedside,” says company representative Christina Noel. “A phlebotomist is able to scan the patient’s bar-coded wristband with the wireless device, which affirms positive patient identification for that test. On the handheld’s status board, the phlebotomist can view the collection instructions specific to the test and container details. Once the specimen is taken, the date, time, and user are documented and sent to Meditech’s Laboratory application in real time.”

Two features ori­ginally released on version 5.5 of the software remain especially popular among customers, Noel says. The first is a transfusion administration record with patient/unit verification, which allows laboratory and nursing personnel to transmit blood bank unit and patient data between their departments. The second, electronic crossmatching, replaces crossmatch serological testing for blood type incompatibility. The latter is available only on Meditech’s Magic platform, she says.

“ISBT 128 symbology is another popular topic,” Noel adds. “Medi­tech is fully ready for this transition, including scanning ISBT 128 labels into the system.”

ISBT 128 is a hot issue, concurs Lisa-Jean Clifford, senior director of marketing and business development for Psyche Systems Corp. “The biggest trend that I see right now is simply the need to be ISBT 128 compliant,” she says. This year Psyche introduced the ISBT component label generation feature on its Systematic Blood Bank system. Systematic is available as an interface to a laboratory information system, an integrated module on Psyche’s LabWeb LIS, or as a stand-alone system for “smaller laboratories that simply need to become computerized.” Another relatively new offering, says Clifford, is Psyche’s interface to Ortho Clinical Diagnostics’ Ortho ProVue automated blood bank instrument.

New at NetLims are several features on the company’s AutoFusion 3.02 blood bank management software. Among the enhancements, which were introduced in March, are a centralized worklist that displays workload status and pending assignments, improved neonate-dedicated procedures, and a unique rules engine. The latter, says David Hanfling, head of business development for NetLims, “provides sophisticated user-defined formulas for enhanced flexibility in system logic and automatically initiated functions.”

AutoFusion 3.02 consists of two integrated modules: one for transfusion services management, including inventory management, patient testing, electronic crossmatching, transfusion services, information services, and quality assurance; and one for donation management, including donor information services, donor testing, donated products management, and documentation and reporting services. The software also provides a handheld phlebotomy module and Web interface. The system complies with ISBT 128 and HL7 standards.

In December, NetLims plans to introduce additional donor-management functionality to AutoFusion 3.02, including donor text-messaging features and allogeneic bone marrow transplant patient procedures. The latter are designed to address “every aspect of handling transplanted patients,” Hanfling says. The software will also offer easier access to patients’ hematological test results.

Global Med too expanded its product menu this year. In February, the company received FDA 510(k) clearance for the newest module in its ElDorado product suite, the ElDorado Donor Windows-based donor-management system. The new module offers system scalability, automatic safety checks, multi-tabbed data access forms, facility-specific standard operating procedure links, and ISBT 128 and ABC Codabar automated blood labeling.

Global Med’s e-Donor Web-based donor recruitment and scheduling program is now available as an optional module for ElDorado Donor and SafeTrace. It is also available as a stand-alone system. “This comprehensive donor-recruitment platform can be customized to address a donor center’s specific recruitment, fulfillment, and retention needs,” Holland says.

In the same product family, an advanced module for the ElDorado Donor Doc electronic history questionnaire is soon to be sent for FDA 510(k) clearance. “The phlebotomy module will be intended to be installed on a handheld device to interface with ElDorado Donor Doc or interface directly with ElDorado Donor,” Holland says. The company is also working to validate the use of satellite for mobile collections in the hopes of reducing or eliminating Web connectivity problems in remote or mountainous areas.

McKesson’s Horizon Blood Bank, a private-label transfusion-management system from Wynd­gate, now offers easier, faster access to critical information—including hematology data—via the software’s proprietary At-A-Glance-Bar function. Other new features of the Horizon system are bi-directional interfaces with blood bank automated equipment, a real-time billing interface, electronic and remote crossmatching, emergency-released product documentation, and management of transport containers and transfusion reactions.

In the second quarter of next year, pending FDA premarket approval, SCC Soft Computer will introduce SoftBank II, version 25. The new software will interface to the company’s SoftID-Tx system for positive patient bedside identification for transfusions and will allow users to enter vital signs, says product manager Laurie Sapp. It will also interface with irradiators and feature enhanced neonatal specimen handling, she adds.

CAP TODAY’s survey of blood bank systems includes products from the aforementioned companies as well as from Blood Bank Computer Systems, Cerner Corp., GE Healthcare, Haemonetics, Mak-System Corp., Mediware Information Systems, and Sunquest Information Systems. The companies supplied the information listed. Readers interested in a particular product should confirm that it has the stated features and capabilities.

Anne Ford is a writer in Chicago.

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