RFID Talk Blog

RFID to revolutionize supply chain for blood products

A movement is underway to commercialize an RFID system to track and monitor blood products across the transfusion medicine supply chain. The Transfusion Medicine RFID Consortium announced last week that S3Edge Inc., has been selected to exclusively commercialize the RFID and barcode based Blood Product Tracking suite of applications designed and built under a private, academic, and public initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The suite of applications has been deployed in a 24-week production pilot at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) with promising results. The system, consisting of mobile, desktop, and server software applications provides greater visibility to the physical movement of blood products, while improving the efficiency of blood center operations.

An RFID system is being commercialized to bring better visibility to the blood supply chain.

“We have successfully piloted the new system to track blood products as they move from fixed and mobile donation sites, through the blood center and to distribution, says Lynne Briggs, vice president and chief information officer for BloodCenter of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. “After 24 weeks of running the system in a pilot mode here at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, we have seen process efficiency and traceability gains, as well as marked improvements in reconciliation.”

Deploying RFID as a standard operating procedure in the blood supply chain will automate check-in of collections at donor sites and eliminate errors during receipt and release of blood products at blood centers.

In addition, the solution will provide granular visibility of all products as they flow from the donor site to the blood center, all the way up to bedside point of care at hospitals and ensure patient safety by verifying that the right product is being administered to the right patient at transfusion time.

The hospital transfusion services tracking module was piloted at the DeGowin Blood Center at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where it operated in parallel with IPR, an internally developed barcode-based tracking system.

“The RFID system provided equivalent capabilities to those of IPR in terms of detecting and resolving process errors,” says Dr. Thomas J. Raife, MD, clinical professor and medical director, UIHC DeGowin Blood Center. “It additionally provided the blood bank staff real-time visibility for blood products in transit from the hospital blood bank to the point-of-care and in remote storage in our emergency department.”

The RFID consortium includes BloodCenter of Wisconsin, SysLogic, Inc., S3Edge Inc., Carter Bloodcare, Mississippi Blood Services, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Mississippi Baptist Health System, University of Wisconsin Madison – RFID Laboratory, and Mediware Corp. The initiative to introduce RFID technology in transfusion medicine showcases how ground-breaking solutions can be effectively designed, developed, and commercialized via private-academic-public initiatives for the healthcare industry.

“This effort represents the culmination of years of hard work by the consortium members in bringing a much needed innovation to the market in a collaborative manner,” says Rodeina Davis, a luminary in the transfusion medicine field recognized for her role in advancing this new technology from idea to adoption.

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