Bar codes at the blood bank

The Egyptian Organisation for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), one of the largest vaccine producers in Egypt, has implemented of a state-of-the-art bar-coding system in its blood bank division

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  August 13, 2001

The Egyptian Organisation for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), one of the largest vaccine producers in Egypt, has implemented of a state-of-the-art bar-coding system in its blood bank division. VACSERA, with the help of Gargour Technologies, has installed a sophisticated bar-coding solution to speed the handling of blood products while ensuring maximum accuracy, and removing the potential for mistakes in the manual handling of blood products.

“Guaranteeing the quality and safety of blood products is a major issue. At the same time, speed is vital to save lives. It is mandatory to have blood bags labelled with detailed description of pack serial number, donor data, blood data, donation date and expiry date. This can be a confusing amount of information to manage,” explains Dr. Mahi Sadek, blood bank manager of VACSERA.

“To ensure that we maintain the highest levels of safety and quality, VACSERA invested in Symbol and Gargour for the right technology to meet our quality and response-time goals,” he adds.

Using Symbol’s patented PDF417 2-Dimensional Barcode Technology, along with Symbol’s 2-D barcode scanners, the blood details are now encoded into codes printed onto a label affixed to every blood bag. The tracking of blood bags through storage, distribution and delivery is now considerably quicker, easier and more accurate.

The reliability of the PDF417 coded information is supposedly absolute, and allows no discrepancies between the blood tests results and the data encoded in the PDF417 symbols. The 2-D barcode identifies a number of facts about each unit that could have gone undetected in a medical situation, or could have taken considerable time to resolve, potentially slowing the delivery of vitally needed blood products.

“Today the convergence between technology and mobility provides the ability to simultaneously manage, track and capture information about items,” says Sunil Chadha, regional director for Symbol Technologies. “VACSERA has taken a vital first step in controlling its blood products by having easily accessible and accurate computerised data of every bag and its delivery location. The solution implemented by VACSERA is a fine example for other medical institutions as they move toward the ‘e-environment’.”

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