Background: The rapid provision of red cell (RBC) units to patients needing blood urgently is an issue of major importance in transfusion medicine. The development of electronic issue (sometimes termed "electronic crossmatch") has facilitated rapid provision of RBC units by avoidance of the serologic crossmatch in eligible patients. A further development is the issue of blood under electronic control at blood refrigerator remote from the blood bank.
Study design and methods: This study evaluated a system for electronic remote blood issue (ERBI) developed as an enhancement of a system for end-to-end electronic control of hospital transfusion. Practice was evaluated before and after its introduction in cardiac surgery.
Results: Before the implementation of ERBI, the median time to deliver urgently required RBC units to the patient was 24 minutes. After its implementation, RBC units were obtained from the nearby blood refrigerator in a median time of 59 seconds (range, 30 sec to 2 min). The study also found that unused requests were reduced significantly from 42 to 20 percent, the number of RBC units issued reduced by 52 percent, the number of issued units that were transfused increased from 40 to 62 percent, and there was a significant reduction in the workload of both blood bank and clinical staff.
Conclusions: This study evaluated a combination of remote blood issue with an end-to-end electronically controlled hospital transfusion process, ERBI. ERBI reduced the time to make blood available for surgical patients and improved the efficiency of hospital transfusion.