Blood360 successfully implemented at a Melbourne hospital

Reducing blood product wastage & increasing patient safety though technology.

The Brief

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A Melbourne hospital had a high level of blood and blood products wastage which was due to it being returned from the operating theatres with unverifiable storage conditions. Blood must be stored at a temperature of 4°C, but when it left their transfusion laboratory, storage conditions were unknown so any returned blood to the transfusion laboratory was being discarded.

A project was initiated with the aim of reducing blood and blood products wastage to the state average (at the time the project began in July 2012) to less than 4% from 7%, reaching a high of nearly 8% in November 2012. Blood360 was chosen to manage the movement of blood products around the hospital, improve patient safety by ensuring the right blood is selected for the right patient, reduce blood and blood product wastage, and comply with the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standard 7 in blood management.

Our Client

This Melbourne hospital is one of Australia’s leading public healthcare providers. They manage a major adult trauma service in Victoria, which has almost 100,000 services and more than 57,000 emergency presentations annually. The hospital serves a population base of more than one million Melburnians, as well as regional and rural Victorians and interstate patients.

The Situation

Blood and products made from blood are used throughout the hospital. The distribution and storage of blood/products is managed by the transfusion laboratory team who ensure that the blood is safe to give, and the clinical team is responsible for making sure that the right product is appropriately given to the right patient.

The hospital had a high of wastage of blood products as they were discarded if the unit was more than 30 minutes out of controlled storage. In 2012, 7% - 95 bags of blood products per month - of the units issued by the transfusion laboratory were wasted due to storage and handling issues. The state average for red cell wastage at the time was 4% and was potentially costing the community $32,775 every month.

Along with streamlining the delivery processes of blood to theatre and improving emergency access to blood, the hospital required a blood tracking system to combat the high wastage.

The Solution

Blood360 handles the fundamental requirements of blood tracking and allows the hospital to guarantee the cold chain management of blood products. The system consists of a central server giving a web view of all activity, kiosks that provide controlled access to blood fridges and an interface that provides a real time view of all blood product movements, in and out of the fridge. Blood products can be fated and sluiced and the laboratory notified. Blood360 can be extended to allow management of blood products to the patient by use of the bedside transfusion module.

Installed in the transfusion laboratory and operating theatres of the hospital, the central hub (located in the transfusion laboratory) talks to the remote blood fridge so the laboratory team knows if there has been a break in the cold chain and for how long, for any unit of blood. Any unit that was out of refrigeration for less than 30 minutes could then be returned back into the inventory rather than being discarded. At all times the transfusion laboratory is aware when blood is out of the fridge and for how long.

The Result

The implementation of Blood360 has reduced blood and blood product wastage at the hospital while facilitating the ongoing access of theatre staff to a safe and conveniently located emergency blood supply.

In the four months prior to the implementation of Blood360, there were 148 discarded blood units. Four months post-implementation of Blood360, there was only 55 discarded blood units – a 63% reduction. This represents a projected annual saving of 279 blood units and thousands of community dollars.

The Future

After the very successful pilot program, Blood360 is now fully operational. Other wards, such as the haematology ward (another area that uses a lot of blood and blood products), are also working towards the implementing the Blood360 tracking system.