Transparent blood transfusion

TransparTransparent Blood Transfusion - Transfusion Safety through software-based Identification and Mapping

Germany-wide, more than four million blood products are needed annually. But in addition to the positive effects, a blood transfusion is also always associated with risks. Human mistakes for example in the extraction of the pre-transfusion sample, in the administration of the blood product or in the indication can entail serious consequences. So far, the allocation between a preserve and the patient is regulated by means of the four-eyes-principle on the visual control of the patient data and preserves requirement. However, especially in times of increasing staff shortages this principle is not always feasible.

Therefore, Fraunhofer ISST is working on a software solution that not only aims to optimize the allocation process and the identification of patient to preserve, but also to increase patient safety by integrated warnings. Secured by an access code, the mobile application (app) supports the doctor throughout the transfusion process and makes the presence of a second person redundant. The electronic capture of all data related to the transfusion such as type and number of preserves, possible side effects, transportation times and indications and submitting them to a specially provided database supports the complete documentation in the transfusion process.

By the use of »Radio Frequency Identification« (or RFID for short) in the allocation check, patient safety is increased by the application of blood products and drugs and confusions are eliminated. Similar to the bar code method, information can be stored and read in and out via RFID tags and chips.

For this purpose, indwelling cannulas including a reservoir for blood sample are provided by the company Schreiner MediPharm with a RFID tag and a uniquely assigned, consecutive reliability check digit (SPZ).

Each preserve is assigned to an order and each order is assigned to a SPZ. In this way, the software can trace whether the preserve belongs to the order having the SPZ of the patient. Only the system knows which preserve belongs to which patient. Thus, the patient data are protected from access by unauthorized third parties, despite the use of a mobile application.  

Only when the software detects that both preserve and patient match, the user is allowed to progress in the menu and to provide all necessary information. Due to this safety mechanism, which is integrated in the software, the risk of the patient to receive an incorrect transfusion is substantially minimized.

In a pilot project at the Charité Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, the use of the software is tested in conjunction with the RFID technology. Together with Schreiner MediPharm of Schreiner Group GmbH & Co. KG and the Pfaff GmbH, Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST is working on a prototype.

To that, selected doctors and caregivers are equipped with a NFC enabled mobile phone with the installed application.

Project partners

  • Charité Berlin - Campus Benjamin Franklin
  • Schreiner Group GmbH & Co. KG
  • Pfaff GmbH