IT will play a big role in development of blood banks and blood storage units
By Dr Harish Jachak, Manager Presales and Marketing, Birlamedisoft Pvt Ltd
We know that healthcareÂ industry in IndiaÂ is highly unregulated.Â But this may not comeÂ true in case of blood banks. They, onÂ the other hand, are under regulation.Also, nowadays opening a blood bankÂ has become very difficult. If you askÂ me about growth of blood banks, IÂ would say, the growth is slow. On topÂ of that blood banking facilities areÂ limited to major cities only. We needÂ more storage units in small towns.
These regulations and statutoryÂ requirements make the role of ICTÂ in blood bank very important. BloodÂ bank employees need to maintain atÂ least 10 to 15 different types of registersÂ and records for reporting purpose.Since there are many regulatorsÂ and each has different formats forÂ their records, this process of recordÂ keeping is very time consuming andÂ cumbersome.
Challenges for blood bank
Some major challenges for bloodÂ banks, I would summarise as follows:
â¢ Safer blood supply and storage comes at higher costs.
â¢ Growing number of infections thatÂ transmit through blood.
â¢ Customer expectations of qualityÂ and safety.
â¢ Strict regulations.
â¢ Motivating people to donate blood.In other words maintaining continuousÂ supply.
â¢ Blood transport and storage facilities.
â¢ Increasing longevity of blood and Â blood components
â¢ Wastage of blood and blood components.
â¢ Appealing doctors to prescribeÂ components and encouragingÂ blood banks to prepare blood components.This should optimally utiliseÂ the scarce whole blood.
How ICT could help
Proper implementation of ICT canÂ change for good how blood banksÂ function.
â¢ Bar coding and scanning technologyÂ can reduce reporting errors.
â¢ Timely reminders of expiring bags,with identification of bags can makeÂ staff to distribute older bags firstÂ (FIFO model). This will not only reduceÂ cost of storage but also saveÂ money lost with discarded bags.
â¢ Real time status of available stockÂ in storage centres and/or bloodÂ bank will help in maintaining optimalÂ level of usable bags.
â¢ Online data of donors would beÂ helpful in identifying habitual donors,maintaining contact list inÂ case of emergency, etc.
â¢ Forecasting of blood demand orÂ possible stock-outs in near futureÂ will help blood banks to plan andÂ replenish stock well in advance byÂ arranging blood donation camps.
â¢ Interfacing with machines can beÂ done so there remains no need ofÂ manual entry of test results. BarÂ code and stickers printing further
reduces any chances of humanÂ error.
â¢ Web based blood banks informationÂ management systems will allowÂ the users to enter the data ofÂ donors and bags at the point of
collection. Otherwise staffs have toÂ enter data once they come to centreÂ form any camp. This results inÂ duplication of efforts.
â¢ Well formatted reports can sufficeÂ requirement of any regulatingÂ agency. No need of repeating theÂ entries in each report.
â¢ Full array of MIS reports for administrators of blood bank facilities.
â¢ Customer support features likeÂ SMS, online booking of blood forÂ planned surgeries, etc. will definitelyÂ lead to customer satisfaction.
“Role of Government and regulators suchÂ as National AIDS Control OrganisaionÂ and State AIDS Control Societies is very critical. Government should certainlyÂ look into matters of data banking, security ofÂ data and standardisation of records”
What we do?
We are developers of IT solutionsÂ for healthcare industry, providingÂ services to small to large hospitals,diagnostics centres, blood banks, imagingÂ centres, pharmacy shops andÂ healthcare operations of big indusÂ trialÂ plants.
We have Information ManagementSystem for blood banks, bothÂ online and offline, catering to someÂ of the leading blood banks in theirÂ respective areas. By making processÂ of registration, blood collection, testingÂ and cross matching, storage ofÂ blood bags according to expiry date,blood groups, components, donor andÂ blood bag database, monitored distributionÂ of blood bags and reporting ofÂ adverse reactions automated we areÂ making life easy for our clients.
As I said earlier reporting is veryÂ critical part of blood bank management,Â our online and offline bloodÂ baning management software givesÂ more than 40 different types of reportsÂ and records. This allows managersÂ to monitor all functions of bloodÂ bank. Donor tracking has been madeÂ so easy that blood bank can haveÂ large database of emergency donorsÂ handy. Also their health profile isÂ maintained to avoid infected bloodÂ entry into system at first check point.
Identification and tracking systemÂ adminofÂ bags gives zero chances to miss-reportingÂ or wrong supply of blood.
Whatâs in future?
I see great scope of business expansionÂ in blood transfusion related business,since most of the blood banksÂ are running without any automationÂ or something just for billing purpose.Blood bank, collection centres andÂ storage units will talk to each otherand will maintain continuous availabilityÂ of life saving fluid. HospitalsÂ would be able to check status of availabilityof blood of desired group or theÂ components online and how long willÂ it take to reach them.
Confidentiality of donor/receiverÂ data would be of utmost importanceÂ and efforts would be placed to protectÂ them. In future I would like to seeÂ minimal wastage of precious blood.This could be achieved by timely utilisationÂ of near expiry stock, increasedÂ usage of components and keeping theÂ supply (donors) within timely reachÂ whenever there is demand.
Role of Government and regulatorsÂ such as NACO and State AIDSÂ Control Societies is very critical. GovernmentÂ should certainly look intoÂ matters of data banking, securityÂ of data, standardisation of records,sample and blood bags tracking etc.as a policy matter.
With advancement of newer technologyÂ in collection, separation ofÂ components and storage of blood,ICT had already entered blood banks.Need of the hour is a system for managingÂ the information.