Norman Regional Health System is one of the first in the nation to use a new electronic validation method from Meditech to make sure the right patient receives the right blood-type before a transfusion.
Norman Regional began using the new technology, called Electronic Crossmatch, in December 2008. Electronic Crossmatch checks compatibility between patient and donor blood types and has a number of other safety checks designed to improve patient safety.
“Electronic Crossmatch has proven to be safer than the manual system we used to rely on to check blood compatibility,” said Jerry Stevens, supervisor, blood bank. “The technology automatically checks for any patient blood-type history in our system, and will use that data to compare blood-type data from the donor blood. Using Electronic Crossmatch, we have made our blood transfusion processes safer, and have saved countless hours manually testing blood compatibility.”
Prior to implementing Electronic Crossmatch, Stevens said the laboratory technologists at Norman Regional would have to manually mix the patient’s blood with the donor’s cells in a test tube, and then analyze before deeming the two blood samples compatible.
“The manual crossmatch process took about five per test,” explains Stevens. “Our laboratory conducts about 830 crossmatches per month. Using Electronic Crossmatch, our technicians now know instantaneously if blood types are compatible.”
While saving technologists 35 hours per month is an impressive benefit of Electronic Crossmatch, its safety features have also caught the attention of Norman Regional's laboratory staff.
“The system has the logic to conduct a thorough screening,” said Stevens. “In addition, the system will always use two separate blood type tests to ensure there is a match between the patient and donor blood.”
Electronic Crossmatch is just one of the many features in Norman Regional’s new electronic medical record system. Norman Regional uses products by Meditech, a software vendor that specializes in meeting the information needs of health care organizations. In addition to the automated blood checking feature, Norman Regional also has incorporated a patient bedside medication verification system offered by Meditech. This system assures the right patient gets the right medication and the correct dose.