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Blood Bank automation vs Manual


Nicole Osman
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We didn't switch, not sure that would be entirely possible, we do use automation for the bulk of our work.

@Nicole Osman, I think you need more specifics on your question.  How large is your lab?  How many staff?  Dedicated blood bankers or generalists?  What is your current methodology?  What are you trying to gain?

Lots of great people here happy to help.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know of one hospital that switched to total automation (can’t remember the method or lab size). They had major issues and ended up having to send way too much to their reference lab (think anti-A1, IgM, rouleaux etc.) After a few months they changed back. As Cliff indicated above using automation as the primary method is sensible, just keep your manual methods as backup. Else expect a big increase in send out costs and time delays. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We automated (Echo) for types; screens; cord blood DATs, weak D, types; and antibody IDs about 13 years ago from manual gel. Before gel we used manual REACT, but have always used tube for backup and problem solving. The bulk of our work runs on the Echo. We send out very few specimens to a reference lab and don't resort to tube testing very often for problem solving. We do see more warm autos with solid phase, but use tube with PeG, LISS, or saline phase if we have to, to determine presence/absence of underlying alloantibodies.

Staff adapted quickly to the Echo and solid phase. Our MLT and CLS students learn quickly as well. We are a busy rural referral facility with approx. 150 beds and 12 generalists who rotate through Blood Bank (some more than others). I am the only full timer. We deliver almost 1000 babies and transfuse about 800 units of blood a year. Blood Bank is staffed with one person on days and on evenings and nights a generalist handles Blood Bank along with other responsibilities. Works very well for us. Saves our sanity on high workload days. On those rare days when the instrument is down the tech in Blood Bank is very sad. I would never go back to all manual testing.

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We started with Immucor's ABS2000 in 1999 and kept the manual / tube technology as a backup.  Shortly before I left in 2009 we had up graded to the Immucor ECHO with 2 of them.  A month ago my wife was having back surgery in that facility so while waiting I stopped in for a visit.  There was only one Transfusion Service staff member still there from my days as the supervisor.  They now have replaced the Immucor equipment with some Ortho stuff. (I almost said piece of crap but didn't).  None of the staff are happy with the change forced on them by the cooperate mothership hospital fondly referred to as the Death Star since the day it was built.  Apparently the first unit they got never did work and after over a year of struggles it was finally replaced by Ortho with another one and the verdict is still out on the replacement.   If I had still been working there I'm sure the switch to Orthro would have precipitated my departure.  I'm sure many of you are delighted with Ortho.  This is just my opinion on them and their equipment.  It all started when the Ortho rep told me that if we didn't become an all Ortho Blood Bank we were extremely stupid.  (I am paraphrasing but maintaining the gist of his words.)  

Before I got side tracked with my rambling I meant to convey that Automation is a great advancement for Blood Banking.  My Transfusion Service was the first to automate in the Rocky Mountain West and we never looked back or regretted it as long as I was there.  The reason I left is a long and dreary story best shared over a pint or two in the local pub. 

Wow I'm on one today!!!

Cheers to you all and a very Merry Christmas.  My heart goes out to all of you who will be working the Christmas shifts.  You are indeed the true heroes!! :winner:

:coffeecup:                                                                                                          

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/23/2021 at 12:37 PM, John C. Staley said:

I'm sure many of you are delighted with Ortho.  This is just my opinion on them and their equipment.  It all started when the Ortho rep told me that if we didn't become an all Ortho Blood Bank we were extremely stupid.  (I am paraphrasing but maintaining the gist of his words.)  

Years ago the Ortho rep told me if I didn't buy anything he wasn't coming back.  (I had requested prices which were never forthcoming).  I told him good bye.  Ortho called and told me he was their top salesman.  I told them not to send him back.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/12/2022 at 6:58 AM, David Saikin said:

Years ago the Ortho rep told me if I didn't buy anything he wasn't coming back.  (I had requested prices which were never forthcoming).  I told him good bye.  Ortho called and told me he was their top salesman.  I told them not to send him back.

I recently switched everything (over a couple of years) to Bio Rad because the Ortho rep wasn't responsive and they were more expensive for us.  We're not automated because we don't have the power and space but hopefully one day!  

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