Only challenge is that the right blood group should reach the right hospital at right time, says Dr Rinku Bhatia, HOD – Blood Bank, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital
Tell us about some of new techniques being used by your bank to screen donors and ensure they are healthy donors.
We are extremely strict on our tests for blood donors with thorough history checks and diagnostics tests. The process involves complete screening and profiling of the donor that includes for heamoglobin and we have listed other key tests that are compulsory. We have started using the Hemocue analyser. That is a haemoglobinometer. By doing this, we compute heamoglobin composition of the donor and can examine it for its compliance as per the guidelines. We have also started doing chemiluminescence testing on all the blood bags. We have started moving away from ELISA method to this method as this is more sensitive to testing of HIV, Hepatitis B and C. We are also conducting malaria tests for our donors. It is not just the malaria smear testing, instead we are doing the malaria antigen testing that is more precise. So we choose donors without history of malaria. The advantage of the test is that it detects malaria at an early stage. We are also doing Syphilis testing that is mandatory TPHA assay instead of VDRL testing. There is lot of future upgradation that needs to start and we are eagerly waiting for the nucleic acid testing of the blood which is much safer for the patients. Our approach is ensuring patient safety and we track the quality of blood right from the donor till the blood reaches to patients by bedside.
We are currently looking for an end-to-end IT solution for our blood bank. We have lots of improvements planned using the IT tools in the pipeline
Tell us more about the technology used for storage of blood components. We have a 100 percent component lab.
This is to keep up with times as no one really usually uses the whole blood nowadays. And we have to store each and every component at a different temperature as each component has a shelf life for different days. To ensure the temperature is maintained, we need to conduct a continuous monitoring of the storage facility. To facilitate smooth monitoring we have at our hospital a central data monitoring system that has continuous monitoring of all these at their respective temperature. These are connected to sensors and each minute is monitored for temperature and do remedial steps as soon as we come to know that the temperature is not maintained. So the monitoring of temperature is very crucial when it comes to storage of components.
The state government has launched a ‘Blood on Call Scheme’; please share your views on the same.
It is a good initiative coming from the state government. There is a good availability of blood among hospitals and only challenge is that the right blood group should reach the right hospital at the right time. This calls for more communication between blood banks to engage in dialogue and manage excess of a particular blood group. This ensures that the blood is not discarded and some hospitals use the same for sure. So this blood on call is a good initiative and we need to work towards its success in the state.
Please share your future plans and how IT will be used at your blood bank.
We are currently looking for an endto- end IT solution for our blood bank. We have lots of improvements planned using the IT tools in the pipeline. We are looking at the nucleic acid testing and need the skills and machine to start work on it. It is an expensive test but we are sure to go for it. We are also looking at leuco-depletion. We are looking cross matching and automation as well. The speed is faster and the blood is available earlier and we are looking at an IT system with software and bar coding to make the process seamless.