Background and objectives: Electronic medical records (EMRs) are often composed of multiple interlinking systems, each serving a particular task, including transfusion ordering and administration. Transfusion may not be prioritized when developing or implementing electronic platforms. Uniform guidelines may assist information technology (IT) developers, institutions and healthcare workforces to progress with shared goals.
Materials and methods: A narrative review of current clinical guidance, benefits and risks of electronic systems for clinical transfusion practice was combined with feedback from experienced transfusion practitioners.
Results: There is opportunity to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of transfusion practice, particularly through decision support and better identification procedures, by incorporating transfusion practice into EMRs. However, these benefits should not be assumed, as poorly designed processes within the electronic systems and the critically important electronic-human process interfaces may increase risk while creating the impression of safety.
Conclusion: Guidelines should enable healthcare and IT industries to work constructively together so that each implementation provides assurance of safe practice.
Keywords: decision support; electronic medical records; patient identification; transfusion.
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