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RFID Tracks Blood for Pediatric Transfusions

BloodCenter of Wisconsin and technology company Fresenius Kabi have piloted an RFID solution at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, to test how well the system helps to ensure that blood products are moved efficiently and are not overstocked or wasted when split into child-sized doses.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 17, 2017

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and BloodCenter of Wisconsin are piloting a high-frequency (HF) RFID system's use in monitoring a challenging product: blood stored and provided for pediatric patients. Because children require less blood than adults, the products are often split into smaller packages for transfusion recipients who could be as young as a newborn infant. The pilot, which started on Oct. 31, 2016, ended this week, on Feb. 15. The RFID solution is known as CompoTrace and is provided by health-care technologies company Fresenius Kabi.

BloodCenter of Wisconsin—a nonprofit organization that specializes in blood services; organ, tissue and marrow donation; diagnostic testing; and medical services and research—is part of health-care organization Versiti. The blood center teamed up with Fresenius Kabi to begin piloting the passive HF RFID-based solution. The facility has been researching and testing RFID technology for more than a decade, to better manage its blood supply as the product passes from the center to hospitals for use by patients (see BloodCenter of Wisconsin to Study RFID's Effect on Blood and Consortium Pilot Finds RFID Improves Efficiency of Blood Supply Chain).

An employee scans blood components into the inventory visibility system.
The latest project was designed to determine how the technology could benefit the visibility and management of blood supplies for the smallest of patients. "Children's transfusions differ from adults' because the doses are much smaller," says Lynne Briggs, BloodCenter of Wisconsin's VP and CIO. A blood bag stores a specific dosage for adults, she explains, but an infant or small child would use only a small percentage of that dose. Rather than blood being wasted that isn't required for a young patient, the product is split into multiple pediatric doses.

Monitoring products that are split and stored in multiple bags can be more complicated than tracking a single dose that is administered to a patient in the same bag in which it was initially collected and stored. As a result, Briggs says, the blood center and Fresenius-Kabi wanted to determine how well the technology could help track the original adult-sized dose, as well as subsequent smaller pediatric doses. "This allows us to be better stewards of the blood supply," she explains.

The pilot consists of tracking blood products at two locations: BloodCenter of Wisconsin distribution site where the blood is shipped by its BloodCenter Hospital Services team, and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where it is handled by the Hospital Transfusion Services team, using the CompoTrace system.

BloodCenter and Children's Hospital pilot is the first pediatric deployment of the CompoTrace solution, says Dale H. Meixelsperger, Fresenius Kabi's marketing senior manager.

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