FALLS CHURCH, Va. --
A typical blood transfusion can be completed in one to four hours, but the first 15 minutes are crucial. In that first quarter-hour, vital signs and blood documentation are recorded and any risks in the transfusion spotted. A medical center relying on a manual documentation system can experience complications within that short window. For the 60th Medical Group staff from David Grant USAF Medical Center, stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California, the roll out of the Military Health System’s electronic health record MHS GENESIS
saved both time and manpower to complete blood transfusions for their patients.
Air Force Capt. Seng Patton, chief of Transfusion Services and Microbiology at DGMC, said that before MHS GENESIS, the DGMC’s blood bank and clinical areas used four different electronic health systems that did not communicate with each other. These systems required technicians to enter data by hand into each system.
The Blood Bridge in MHS GENESIS automated the transfusion process at DGMC into one system, allowing its blood bank to communicate electronically with other areas of the hospital. The positive patient identification function of MHS GENESIS helps DGMC identify patients that need blood products with a simple scan instead of involving another person to verify patient identity. Then the system matches any blood specimens drawn from the patient to their electronic record.
Patton said that the new system allowed the seamless delivery of life-saving blood products from the blood bank to the facility’s inpatient wards and surgical suites. The comprehensive system reduced record-keeping redundancies in the blood bank and increased compliance with document regulations. DGMC was already able to meet the national standard of 15 minutes to provide emergency blood products to the patient care team, but MHS GENESIS reduced that time to under 10 minutes.
“Timeliness is so important for blood transfusions, especially emergency transfusions,” Patton said, “The blood bank technicians fully embrace and appreciate that they do not have to document the same things into different electronic systems, saving precious time that can be devoted to critical tasks.”
Patton appreciates that MHS GENESIS allows interdisciplinary teams to come together to improve care for patients. This connection extends outside of just DGMC to other commands that also use MHS GENESIS.
“The most beneficial aspect of the system is that we are all connected,” Patton said. “Every location that has MHS GENESIS will have access to the patient’s entire record from the start of MHS GENESIS. Collaboration with Veterans Affairs means that those records will be available, too. So no matter where a patient goes, as long as they have MHS GENESIS, we will be able to see that information throughout.”