Example of Dealing with HIS Interface Issues to Dedicated Blood Bank Software

The following is an actual working document for interactions between the Medinfo HIIG system and a monolithic hospital information system covering nursing, laboratory, ADT, etc.  For the purpose of this post, I shall name it B*.

In a previous position, I was in charge of the Laboratory Information Systems and worked both with Medinfo for donor and patient hospital blood bank processes AND B* for the general laboratory.  It was my decision NOT to use B* for the hospital blood bank because there would be no integration between the donor module in Medinfo and patient blood bank module in B*.  Also, B* had limited handling of complex immunology algorithms and fewer safeguards than Medinfo.

B* could not directly read ISBT product labels from the ISBT dictionary and required hard-coding the links for each and every type of blood component and modification.  It was also slow to order blood components so in emergency situations, I allowed physicians to bypass B* and order directly if they felt in their clinical judgment that the delay in using B* might harm the patient.

The non-transfusion physicians had to directly order blood components in B* except for emergencies as stated above.  They were only allowed to order a limited number of basic tests such as ABO/D type, direct antiglobulin test DAT, or antibody screen.  Based on those tests, we would use algorithms in Medinfo’s patient module.  Example:  an outside doctor could not order a Jka typing—that could only be done according to our internal Medinfo algorithms.  Doctors could only order antibody screens, not antibody identifications, elutions, or titrations.

Sadly, most physicians had no specific training in blood component or blood component therapy so they made many mistakes in ordering manually before the computer system.  I had requested offering training sessions for the doctors but this had never been approved by the medical administration.

Thus, my decision was to place the responsibility for the correct ordering of blood components and testing directly by Transfusion Medicine.  The non-transfusion doctors were only ordering preferences for components—the actual selection was made in Medinfo by my blood bank staff under my order.  We decided whether to irradiate.  All platelet and plasma components were pathogen-inactivated.  All components were leukodepleted to < 1E6 according to CE Standards.

In Medinfo we could thus modify or even cancel requests without having to deal with the B* system.  B* would accept Medinfo cancellations directly.

During the frequent B* downtimes, all processes would be limited to using Medinfo.  There was no way to initiate orders in Medinfo and send them back to B*.  Thus during downtimes, the only way to retrieve results was to use Medinfo.

The following is the process for the interface as was used during my tenure at that institution:

Medinfo-B* Interface Process


Limited ordering of components and basic transfusion testing may be initiated on the B* side.  All component orders and all test results will pass into B*, including those which can only be ordered by blood bank staff.  All blood bank processes will continue to be performed within Medinfo.  Transfusion Medicine is not responsible for training physicians and nurses on how to use the B* interface.


NTMP:  Non-Transfusion Medicine physicians

TM:  Transfusion Medicine

B*:  A hospital information system including laboratory module (not used by Transfusion Medicine for either patient blood bank or donor issues)—NOT MEDINFO!!

THE FOLLOWING POLICY SUPERCEDES ANY AND ALL PROCESSES CURRENTLY DOCUMENTED IN TRANSFUSION MEDICINE.  The processes are currently being updated to reflect the Medinfo-B* interface issues.


  1. For our hospitals, B* ordering must be used unless B* is non-functional or there is a life-threatening clinical emergency that cannot be met expeditiously by ordering in B* e.g. MTP)
  2. NTMP must place all component orders (RBC, plasma, and platelet) and the limited test menu (type and screen, transfusion reaction, ABO/D type, direct antiglobulin test, cord blood) in B*.
    1. The ordering physician must DIRECTLY enter the order, not list the transfusion as a nursing task in the B* system.
  3. NTMP may indicate a preference to the type of component and number/amount requested, but the actual selection and release will be based on internal TM algorithms under the order of the Division Head, Transfusion Medicine.
  4. Tests not listed in the B* menu cannot be directly ordered by the NTMP.
  5. It is the responsibility of TM staff to periodically check the interface from Medinfo to import requests.
  6. Transfusion service/hospital blood bank staff will integrate those order requests which are currently needed for patient care.
    1. Other requests will be kept in the B*-Medinfo queue until they are needed and will be automatically cancelled after 3 days.
  7. Internal Hospital Transfusion Service/Blood Bank Processes:
    1. All Transfusion Medicine work processes will be performed within Medinfo, nothing within B*.
    2. B* Functioning (non-MTP):
    3. Transfusion Medicine staff will accept signed specimens without requisition.
      1. The specimen bar code will provide the two unique identifiers for patient identification.
        1. We will accept even if name is truncated on the B*-generated label, relying on the full name and HC number visible on the screen
      2. Internal processes and algorithms in Medinfo are to be used for selection and reservation of components, component modification, and all testing.
    4. Documentation of work:
      1. Routine specimens (type and screen, ABO/D typings, DAT, negative cord bloods) will be paperless.
      2. Non-routine specimens require paper documentation.  These include:
        1. Abnormal Results that needs supervisor /TRM physician review
        2. If the analyzer is not interfaced to Medinfo
        3. If a manual tube technique is performed
        4. Requests received from any site not ordering through the Medinfo-B* interface
    5. Massive transfusion protocols:
      1. The ordering physician will decide whether to order in B*:  if he decides that ordering in B* will adversely affect the patient outcome, he may revert to the old system (e.g. call the blood bank hotline and request blood and then send paper requisitions and samples to blood bank as conditions permit)
      2. Physicians who use the B* interface must order each wave of the MTP separately (e.g. MTP1, MTP2, MTP3) and adjust the quantities accordingly.
        1. The B*-Medinfo interface does not include ordering for non-blood-bank items (e.g. medications) in the massive transfusion protocol.
  8. B* Results and Statuses:
    1. All results and statuses of tests and components will be available in B* for those sites using the Medinfo-B* interface.
      1. This includes non-B* orderables for components and tests.
    2. Formatting of tests and other requests are limited to the B* build’s capabilities:
      1. NTMP may see test results in the Medinfo Viewer if they prefer.
    3. During B* downtime, TM will revert to Medinfo-only processes including ordering, test-requesting, resulting, and release of components.
      1. There will be NO recovery post-down-time in B*:   test results will be viewable in the Medinfo Viewer only.  There will be no component information in the Medinfo Viewer.
  9. Downtimes and recovery:
    1. B* Downtimes:
      1. Revert to 100% Medinfo processes.
      2. Manual requisitions and specimens will be sent:  complete concordance between specimen tube and requisition is required for the specimen to be used for the purpose of selecting components.
      3. Medinfo accession numbers will be used.
      4. There will be no B* ordering recovery.
      5. Test results will be viewable in Medinfo Viewer only.
      6. No statuses will be available.
    2. Medinfo Downtimes (B* available):
      1. Paper downtime procedures will be in effect.
      2. After restoration:
        1. Retrieve orders from B* interface and proceed OR:
        2. Others use paper requisitions and order/process in Medinfo only.
  10. Training of Clinical Staff:
    1. Training of physicians and nurses to use the B* interface is the responsibility of the Hospital Information System HIS staff, NOT TRANSFUSION MEDICINE!!
    2. All questions for clinical usage should be referred to the hospital’s HIS Help Desk.
    3. Transfusion Medicine will NOT provide B* support!!!


  1. Medinfo interface documentation for B* Integration, January, 2019
  2. Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services, Current Edition, AABB, Bethesda, MD, USA