In the not-so-distant past, many United States (US) transfusion services and blood centers had to deal with unexpectedly long downtimes of their information systems (IS). Many of these transfusion services and blood centers may have been unprepared or inadequately prepared for such occurrences. Downtime events can potentially cause unnecessary and largely preventable disruption among the already busy transfusion medicine staff, besides affecting patient care and safety. To address this issue, an AABB working group sent a survey to global AABB institutional members asking specific questions about how they handle different aspects of running a blood bank service or blood center during downtime, the major challenges they have faced so far, including accessing the EHR (Electronic Health Record) and LIS (Laboratory Information System) for historical data and keeping track of paper records to be entered later into the LIS. It also asked if any drills and test runs are carried out at specified intervals (including system-wide mock outages). The results from the above survey will be presented along with a discussion about how to translate the survey results into meaningful, actionable takeaways for transfusion services and blood centers. There will be a conversation about the interventions that could be useful to effectively prepare for such an impact in the future without significant disruption of both workload and patient care. Finally, the possibility of incorporating some of these suggestions into guidance for the next edition of the AABB Standards for Blood Banks and Transfusion Services will be explored. If you are part of a transfusion service or blood center and want to see how your transfusion service or blood center compares to others in the US and the rest of the world and how you can better prepare for unexpected system downtimes, this session is a must see!
Director, Blood Bank and Stem Cell Laboratory, Assistant Professor,
West Virginia University School of Medicine and Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
Pathologist; Associate Professor,
University of Vermont Medical Center
PhD, MD, MS, CABP,
Director of Cellular Therapy Laboratory,
Columbia University Irving Medical Center