Healthcare | Poland Hospital Tracks Blood with Barcode

One Poland hospital applied Chainway handheld barcode scanners to track blood samples and blood products. 

handheld barcode scanner

As a routine of medical work, blood transfusion is riddled with the potential for error in a manual system. From blood bank to patient bedsides, transfusion errors could occur at any step: mislabeling blood sample, withdrawing the wrong blood from blood bank, or mismatching patient with blood product. If not discovered in time, these mistakes can cause catastrophic morbidity or mortality. 

With millions of patients in Poland requiring blood transfusions annually, there is a tremendous need for blood products. In an effort to clamp down on medical errors and promote patient safety, a Poland hospital introduced barcode technology into their blood tracking system. Every patient blood sample is barcoded, and scanned to compare with the barcode on doctor’s order sheet. Upon correct scan, clinicians get a positive onscreen message on Chainway handheld computers and the sample is accepted by the blood bank; if the two mismatch, the handheld terminal sends an alert and the sample is rejected. This step ensures that the right sample is always linked to the right patient, which is essential for the further proceeding. 

Like blood sample, blood product is also tagged with a unique identifier telling the product code and blood type. If a patient needs a transfusion, the lab worker selects the correct blood unit and that unit is given a barcode label assigned to that patient. Then the worker uses a Chainway handheld computer to scan the product code and the barcode label to build a connection between the unit and the patient. An electronic message is sent wirelessly to the back-end system of the hospital. The ward nurse notifies this information, goes to the blood bank and finds the exact blood unit in the fridge. This makes absolutely sure that the blood unit being collected is the correct one.

Back on the ward, the nurse scans both the product code and the unit barcode: if the scans are not verified, an alert sounds so the process can be stopped before too late; if the match is correct, the transfusion will start. 

Every scan sends an automate message to the back-end server, indicating doctor’s order, sample ID, unit ID, date and time, error message, operator, and collector. The online history tracks all activity with fields above. Chainway handheld barcode scanner reliably tracks blood from the blood bank to the final recipient.