Redesigned Blood Band Earns Z-Band Fusion Kudos at Healthcare System

Laboratory Lead Calls New Blood Band "Huge Improvement" Over Previous Bands


When an award-winning Midwest healthcare system decided to transition from paper records to Epic electronic health records (EHR) at all of its facilities, a group of laboratory team leaders and nurse administrators also recommended standardising blood bands.

In addition to the cost savings realized through group purchasing, the move to a single system helped streamline the blood transfusion workflow and enhanced patient safety. It also improved comfort through advanced features such as barcode technology and durable adhesive closures.

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The Story

THE CHALLENGE

There was clearly a pressing need for a uniform blood band at three of the healthcare provider's facilities. Two of the facilities were using a two-step label band that required assembly by the hospital's phlebotomists. Patient safety was compromised because the band accommodated only small, hard-to-read text and lacked a barcode to provide a second security check.

A third facility was using the Ident-A-Blood band system, with labels that were too large for the blood tubes in use and uncomfortable metal closures that created risks of choking and bacterial contamination.

With the original workflow, patients were identified by name and DOB on their armband. During blood specimen collection, a collector applied a blood band to the patient's wrist, prepared the specimen label, and collected the blood sample. With only a matching number on the specimen label and the blood band, there was only one point of patient- to-specimen match, and no way to perform a second identity check.

Then, the collector took the specimen to the lab where a laboratory technologist manually entered the label number into the blood bank computer system. Typing the label number into the system added risk of a transcription error that could negatively affect testing and transfusion.

Next, a nurse gathered and verified patient information after the doctor ordered up a transfusion. Small numbers on the blood band compromised readability, and different bands from each facility created confusion among "floating" nurses who worked flexible shifts.

Upon administering transfused blood to the patient, a nurse had to manually type the blood band number into the EHR system, creating yet another risk of a transcription error.

THE SOLUTION

To replace the manual, error-prone workflow, the safety-conscious healthcare system chose Z-Band Fusion (formerly known as Fusion Band by Laserband), and adapted it for use as a blood band. Today, these facilities use Z-Band Fusion as a blood band to meet their unique needs.

Each band is preprinted with a unique alphanumeric barcode, and number with a matching barcode printed on the specimen label. Information that phlebotomists are required to gather is also preprinted on the bands. The lab scans and double-checks this information when entering the sample into the blood bank computer system for testing.

THE RESULTS

Instead of manual transcription entry during specimen collection, matching numbers and barcodes on the specimen label and blood band are quickly scanned. This helps laboratory technologists confirm the specimen once the blood bank receives it. After the collector takes the specimen to the lab, a technologist scans the barcode on the label and verifies that the handwritten data on the label matches the barcode information, providing yet another checkpoint.

 

The new blood band is a huge process improvement because of the preprinted, bar coded wristband with matching bar coded specimen labels. Recent audits show no errors in blood band scanning. And assembly is easier with the Z-Band Fusion product.

Standardizing blood bands across all facilities makes it easier for nurses to verify patient information after a doctor orders a transfusion. With a highly visible barcode and number on the blood band, the new system provides a second verification against the patient data in the blood bank computer system. Before the actual transfusion, the nurse scans the blood band barcode into the system, providing another check that the correct blood bank number is used.

A Laboratory Team Lead at the second implementation site noted the exceptional results of the new system, "Our facility saves $10,000 annually with the Z-Band Fusion blood band just by eliminating the need for hand-typing, because the tube labels contain a barcode that can be scanned into the blood bank computer. We save time and money while increasing accuracy."

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