Enhancing hemotherapy safety through pertinent diagnostic testing and electronic "provisional diagnosis" reporting: expanding roles for blood bank technologists in biovigilance and patient safety

Transfusion. 2018 Jul;58(7):1708-1717. doi: 10.1111/trf.14769. Epub 2018 Jul 8.


Background: Suspected transfusion reaction (STR) investigations are foundational for biovigilance. Diagnostic evaluations performed by blood banks may prolong turnaround times (TATs) for final STR results reporting. We identified a quality improvement opportunity using diagnostic testing reflex algorithms and our hospital's patient electronic health record to enhance TATs regarding one aspect of STR results reporting.

Study design and methods: We conducted a descriptive quality improvement study of reported STR cases investigated by our hospital's blood bank from March 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016, using data obtained from consult reports/quality improvement databases examining the number and types of diagnostic algorithm reflex activations performed and the TATs for an electronic provisional diagnosis reporting (PDXR) related to them.

Results: A total of 461 STR events occurred during the study interval, of which 150 involved no reflex testing. In the remainder of cases (n = 311), a total of 448 reflex activations occurred. In those cases in which PDXR occurred (n = 446), the median PDXR TAT during the first month of implementation was 325 minutes, which progressively decreased to 70 minutes or less approximately 1 year after implementation. By the last quarter of 2015, median TATs were 60 minutes or less in length, where they remained for the duration of the study.

Conclusion: Technologists using targeted diagnostic reflex arcs to expedite laboratory testing along with STR electronic PDXR improve communication and timely results/information dissemination, potentially aiding bedside hemotherapy-related clinical decision making.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Lung Injury / etiology
  • Algorithms
  • Blood Banks / methods*
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety*
  • Transfusion Reaction