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Improving patient safety in transfusion medicine: contemporary challenges and the roles for bedside and laboratory biovigilance in addressing them

Authors Andrzejewski Jr C, Cloutier D, Unold D, Friedberg R

Received 11 January 2014

Accepted for publication 20 March 2014

Published 10 July 2014 Volume 2014:2 Pages 45—57

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJCTM.S40024

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Chester Andrzejewski Jr,1 Darlene Cloutier,1 David Unold,2 Richard C Friedberg1

1Transfusion Medicine Services, Department of Pathology, Baystate Medical Center, Baystate Health, Springfield, MA, 2Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA

Abstract: Throughout the history of hemotherapy (HT), various challenges and concerns have been encountered in its practical application. When viewed using a prismatic lens of history, recurrent themes regarding adverse HT sequelae separate and become apparent. These can be broadly classified into three categories: infectious, noninfectious, and administrative/logistical. Using the HT care map as a frame of reference along with its associated rites, we examine the contemporary spectrum of HT adverse events and concerns, and some approaches as to how these may be addressed from bedside and laboratory medicine biovigilance perspectives enhancing patient care and blood transfusion safety. Although our vantage point is from an academic community hospital venue, the issues and concerns identified are germane to many if not all transfusion-medicine practice environments. Included among the subjects we explore are patient/specimen identification issues, blood-management initiatives, unrecognized and/or unreported suspected transfusion reactions, transfusion-associated adverse pulmonary sequelae (including transfusion-related acute lung injury and transfusion-associated circulatory overload), expanded applications of electronic health records and issues regarding their “meaningful use” and interinstitutional “digital compatibilities”, biovigilance integration of electronic data networks within and between health care entities, and anticipated workforce contractions secondary to projected declines in the availability of qualified laboratory professionals. Cooperative initiatives between accreditation and regulatory entities, blood collectors and suppliers, hospital laboratory transfusion services and health care providers involved in the bedside care of the patient offer the best means in further mitigating adverse HT sequelae and potential nonconformities that may arise in the daily operations of contemporary hospital blood banks and transfusion-medicine services.

Keywords: hemotherapy, transfusion history, reactions, risk mitigation

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