Radiofrequency identification tracking system (RFID) significantly improves blood bank inventory management and decreases staff work effort

Document Type

Journal Article

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RBC transfusion; radiofrequency identification (RFID); transfusion service operations


BACKGROUND: Before implementation of the radio frequency identification (RFID) system, there was a high loss rate of 4.0%-4.3% of red blood cell (RBC) units every year expiring on the shelf in our transfusion service laboratory. We introduced RFID technology to improve inventory management and the burden of work on the staff. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of RFID technology on the inventory management of RBC units and the staff workload in a transfusion service laboratory. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Using an RFID system involves encoding RBC units with an RFID tag capturing information such as donor identification number, product code, blood type, expiration date, product volume, and negative antigen(s). Tag information is collected through retrofitted storage shelves linked to the RFID server. The study analyzed RBC usage by unit and by volume (mL) and staff work effort to carry out inventory management tasks before and after the implementation of the RFID system. RESULTS: Implementation of the RFID technology reduced the loss, or discard, of RBC units to less than 1% annually (a statistically significant change, p < .001). The RFID computer dashboard provides a constant visual update of the inventory, allowing technologists to have accurate product counts and reducing their work burden. DISCUSSION: Implementation of RFID technology substantially reduced RBC product loss, improved inventory management, and lessened staff work burden.