The hospital is the second largest user of blood in the region and is one of the first to introduce Blood Track Tx, a system which ensures patients receive compatible blood by matching barcodes on their wristband and on product labels.
Staff trained to use hand-held scanners check the barcodes at the patient’s bedside before transfusion takes place. An alarm sounds if any information does not match and an alert is also automatically sent to the hospital laboratory.
Janine Beddow, Transfusion Nurse Lead at UHCW, said: “Patient misidentification is increasingly recognised as a widespread problem within healthcare organisations – and failure to correctly identify individuals is one of the most serious risks to patient safety.
“We transfuse more than 100 units of blood every day and this new electronic system will improve our efficiency as well as standards for patient safety as it enables us to quickly verify a patient’s details and ensure they are matched to their treatment as intended.”
Claire Stokes, Ward Manager for Ward 20 at University Hospital, Coventry, which is using the scanning system, said: “It took a while to get used to the new system but now we wouldn’t be without it; it ensures the safety of the patients and they have told us that they like the scanners and feel re-assured.”
One patient who has monthly transfusions at University Hospital, said: “It’s a really good idea. I feel reassured the blood I receive has been matched to me and staff know immediately if there’s a problem. Scanning is also much quicker than the traditional way which requires two nurses to double-check paperwork. As I need two or three units of blood this has to be done between every unit which can take some time. Scanning speeds up the process which means I don’t have to spend so long in clinic.”
Five wards and the renal dialysis unit at University Hospital are using Blood Track Tx already and the system is gradually being rolled out across the site. The old paper-based system will be withdrawn once around 1,300 members of staff have been trained to use the PDAs.
Richard Peacock, ICT Programme Manager, concluded: “The introduction of new technology, together with the barcoded patient wristbands, really has made a difference to our way of working. As well as making the processes more efficient, it is improving the standards of patient safety.”
Nursing staff use a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) to scan the new patient wristbands. These incorporate a Data Matrix 2D barcode conforming to the latest standards which allow them to be used for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC).
The system also enables the Trust to comply with the Blood Safety Quality Regulations (2005), as stipulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).