Blood transfusion is an important part of healthcare. It is one of the common interventions applied to save lives. South, Casina, and Li explain that in any health facility providing transfusion services, the top priority is always to make the transfusion process safe (81). Blood transfusion involves a process that is carried out in stages. The process begins by assessing the patient’s need for blood, before proceeding to test their blood type. Once the blood type and amount needed are assessed, the blood match is selected and administered to the patient. The ultimate step involves a reevaluation of the patient to ensure that the expected outcomes of the transfusion have been achieved. In many hospitals, the above process is carried out manually. South, Casina, and Li’s article argues that the manual method of blood transfusion, especially during pre-transfusion testing, is responsible for any errors that cause transfusion-related mortality. In their study, they aimed at providing a comparative outline of possible errors when manual methods are used, versus when automated transfusion systems are used. From their study, they provided evidence that automating the transfusion process would minimize errors incurred during transfusion.
The goal of any healthcare facility is to provide high-quality services, characterized by safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. In a blood transfusion, the health practitioners hope to save the lives of people who need blood. However, they need to be extra careful to ensure that there are no errors made when deciding on the type and amount of blood required by a patient. It is this process that South, Casina, and Li describe as the pre-transfusion process. An error at this stage results in errors at all other stages, and the patients are less likely to survive. When doctors, nurses, and technicians use manual tests to assess the patient’s blood group and deficiency, there are higher chances than when an automated system is used. The conclusions of South, Casina, and Li’s study can be confirmed by comparing the effectiveness of people and that of machines in health processes. At the right functioning state, machines are highly efficient, and they reduce the possibility of errors to almost zero. Automated pre-transfusion can, therefore, be the best way to reduce the errors; hence reducing transfusion-related mortalities significantly.
In the article, South, Casina, and Li explain that health practitioners are reluctant to adopt automated transfusion systems. They still prefer manual methods, which are cumbersome and inaccurate. Several factors may be responsible for the poor adoption of automated systems. For instance, health practitioners lack the skills required to use automated transfusion systems. They, therefore, prefer using manual methods, which they are conversant with. Also, health care facilities are reluctant to install automated systems in their transfusion units, as they consider them an additional expense.
The debate on automating transfusion systems should be considered a debate on healthcare quality. From the article, it has been confirmed that the use of traditional manual procedures exposes patients to many risks. Once errors are made in the transfusion process, the process turns fatal. Whenever a life-saving initiative turns fatal, it implies that healthcare quality is compromised. Since there is enough evidence that the errors can be avoided, healthcare agencies need to adopt automated transfusion methods. Even though adopting an automated system comes with various challenges, the challenges are worth taking. The extra costs and training requirements for automated systems are not much compared to the importance of the systems in achieving healthcare goals.
South, Susan F., Casina Tony S., and Li Lily. Exponential Error Reduction in Pre-transfusion Testing with Automation. Transfusion 52 (2012): 81-87