The BloodTrack® system secures, verifies and monitors the blood supply chain electronically from the blood bank, to remote storage locations, to the pathology manager’s station and, finally, to the patient’s bedside; then back to the blood bank.
BloodTrack® is the market-leading blood management system solution which provides safety, traceability, and continuity-of-care across the hospital network. GBE’s Kiosk is the main system user interface at the blood bank side, providing secure access and control of any blood fridge, whilst integrating to the main blood management software control and allocation system.
The BloodTrack® system is a remote inventory and bedside transfusion management solution that acts as an extension of a hospital’s blood bank information and safety management system. The BloodTrack® suite helps hospitals and donor centres secure, verify, and monitor their blood supply chain electronically from the blood bank to remote storage locations, across the nurse’s station, and finally to the patient bedside.
GBE’s Kiosk provides the physical and software user-interface at the blood storage locations (i.e., pathology and the blood bank). It also ensures controlled access to the blood bag inventory. The BloodTrack system enhances patient safety, traceability and significantly reduces healthcare costs by optimising allocation and cutting wastage.
Haemonetics Corporation INC supply and support this system internationally: with over 700 hospitals installed worldwide. End customers include – The UK’s NHS; Irish HSE, Healthcare trusts in mainland Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, UAE, Qatar, and India.
In 2003 GBE were approached by an innovative UK/Canadian medical device and software start-up company called Neoteric. They had designed a prototype software system for tracking and controlling blood bags within a hospital. Their initial idea to was deploy on a combination of desktop PCs and mobile devices, whilst relying on enhanced training of system users. However, it became quickly apparent that to provide the optimal solution for useability, safety and compliance a custom kiosk was required to control and track access to the blood bag assets. As a start-up, Neoteric had limited funds, so GBE agreed to fund development of the hardware piece as part of their investment in the project. Hence the BloodTrack® Kiosk was born. It was a game-changing upgrade from the handwritten label and visual assessment stock control system.
GBE worked closed with Neoteric to design and deploy into two trial sites: Oxford’s John Radcliffe and Leeds Royal Infirmary Hospitals. This provided essential user and system feedback which was invaluable whilst optimising the design. The system was initially sold via a distribution partnership with Olympus Ltd, quickly moving onto over 100 installations in the UK, Ireland and North America. Then, in 2009, Neoteric was purchased by the Blood and Plasma Product and Management Specialist – Haemonetics Corporation. Working with a global medical device and blood specialist really maximised the market leading position of BloodTrack. It also helped GBE really grow its profile and expertise in the healthcare and medical device market. Coupled with the enhanced professionalism of working with a Blue-Chip Corporation.
GBE continues to innovate in this market, along with manufacturing and supporting the BloodTrack Kiosk and associated products. We are currently on the fifth generation of the Kiosk, with over 700 hospital installations worldwide. The product range has been extended with the launch HaemoBank®: a market-leading dedicated blood vending system for remote and extremely secure OnDemand® blood issuing.
This project was a truly ‘lightbulb’ moment – it was replacing a paper and hand-written blood bag label system. We spent a considerable amount of time in hospitals observing processes and designed from aspect of actual users – pathology nurses and porters.
One of the critical aspects of the project was getting buy-in from extremely busy healthcare professionals. They are very time and budget constrained. The system had to deliver measurable and significant cost-savings, plus we had to demonstrate that it was easier and safer to use than their current system and really consider their feedback and suggestions.
We achieved this by working in close collaboration with our trial sites, initially getting user feedback and suggestions. Then aligned this information with the requirements of EC Directive (2002/98/EC) which set the standards of handling and storing blood components. This resulted in the first batch of prototypes to demonstrate the benefits of a blood management system; along with a clear, intuitive user interface. Within weeks this system was used in their day-to-day activities and further studies demonstrated the significant reduction in blood product wastage, which meant paid for itself in a very short period of time.
The compliance aspect was also challenging. As a first-to-market system there were no defined standards or examples we could reference. Therefore, our team had to develop a thoroughly comprehensive understanding of the compliance landscape and then work with Notified Bodies to enable a pragmatic assessment of the compliance landscape required for the product. This drove the compliance testing landscape the system was tested to for its CE and then NRTL (UL) marks. At all stages our design teams took a highly rigorous approach to compliance accreditation; essential as the product was in a vital healthcare environment.
From the full launch of BloodTrack® in 2005 to date, this has been one of the most outstanding collaborations and successful projects GBE has worked on. Over its lifetime millions of blood bag transactions have been managed in a safe and controlled manner. The reduction in waste and saving of blood products continues to have a significant impact on cost saving in all the hospitals and trust which have installed the system. Along with the essential benefit to patients – ensuring they receive the correct transfused blood.
GBE’s involvement, from the initial concept, prototyping, market-entry then scaling up the solution and working with Haemonetics on this truly global solution has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team. We have continued to innovate in this space and have used this experience and successful business model to other clients across a variety of markets.
As a testament to its success, BloodTrack® is now referenced as a standard system within the healthcare environment. It has become ubiquitous for the management of blood and the number of hospitals with it continues to grow year-on-year.