In my opinion, the key to using data effectively is to organize it efficiently. A modern blood bank software like Medinfo is a great help; however, a good manual system—if nothing else but a manual form during a computer downtime—is essential. Also, a good manual system allows you to build an even better software!
Over the years of my practice at sites in the United States and the Middle East, the following form has emerged. It started as a manual reporting form and was repeatedly updated to all the changes in the AABB Standards. At my last site, it was used as a data collection form to present to the Transfusion Medicine Physician reviewing the final transfusion reaction workup. Antibody results, elution, microbiology cultures, etc. would be attached as needed. . The actual transfusion vital signs and patient symptoms on a separate transfusion data sheet were also provided.
Like the computer system, this form enforces a consist set of testing be performed before submitting it for the final disposition for the case. However, like all transfusion reaction workups, the transfusion physician is called with the data of the clinical symptoms, clerical check, DAT, repeat ABO/D typing, antibody screen, visual pre- and post-hemolysis findings so that within one hour the physician can rule out life-threatening hemolysis.
In a future post, I will explore the data entry and interpretative reporting performed in Medinfo.