Puget Sound Blood Center
Just-in-Time Technology Saves Lives and Blood
Managing the blood supply for most of western Washington is a challenge, even for the nearly 70-year-old Puget Sound Blood Center. To ensure that hospitals have access to blood and blood components when and where they are needed, the Blood Center created a remote-storage solution that gives hospitals on-site access to blood as well as a direct connection to Puget Sound Blood Center’s expertise and blood supplies.
As a leader in transfusion medicine, Puget Sound Blood Center wanted to improve the way it supplied hospitals with needed blood. For years, it worked to define the best process for predicting how much blood and supplies to store in order to avoid overstocking and waste. The usual practice was to ship blood by courier on an as-needed basis, a process subject to traffic uncertainties and the risk of human error – not a desirable situation for patients in critical need of transfusion. Puget Sound Blood Center sought a way to allow hospitals and clinics to keep a supply of blood at their own location, while retaining access to the expertise and management provided by Puget Sound Blood Center.
The solution: the HemoSafe, a “smart refrigerator” that operates like a computerized vending machine and can be installed within a hospital. With the HemoSafe, Puget Sound Blood Center can ensure that blood is always available at hospitals and clinics in its network. Each HemoSafe is stocked with a pre-selected inventory of blood and plasma units, and blood is assigned to specific patients and dispensed when needed. The HemoSafe’s sophisticated, automated technology ensures that the right blood for the right patient is available instantly, without the time required to transport it from Puget Sound Blood Center to the hospital.
After conducting a pilot program to test the ability to connect their facilities directly to HemoSafes in hospitals using a virtual private network, Puget Sound Blood Center selected ConnectMD to create a private medical network providing secure connections. Not only was ConnectMD a simple solution with the staff and resources needed to support such a program, it was also a proven technology with already established connections to key medical facilities. By linking its central facilities to remote HemoSafes, Puget Sound Blood Center always knows the status of a hospital’s blood supply, ensuring that re-stocking occurs promptly.
Puget Sound Blood Center is a community-based blood bank that serves patients in more than 70 hospitals. It operates an integrated research institute and center of excellence for blood and transfusion medicine, as well as laboratories for blood matching and testing, including specialized testing related to cellular therapies and organ transplantation. In 2010, Puget Sound Blood Center provided nearly 200,000 units of red cells and more than 63,000 units of whole blood platelets. To effectively manage its blood supply and distribution network, Puget Sound Blood Center develops cutting-edge technologies and best practices.