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In just three months, HCLL helped Bassett Healthcare reduce its crossmatch/transfusion ratio 27%

When Bassett Healthcare Network made plans to implement the EpicCare electronic medical record (EMR) and Beaker laboratory information system (LIS) across its six acute care facilities, the blood bank team knew they needed to upgrade as well. Their application was outdated, and its ability to integrate with the new Epic systems was limited.

After considerable research and vendor demonstrations, Bassett’s team selected HCLL Transfusion. To access the full range of HCLL’s capabilities, the team opted to implement HCLL’s Web-Based Access Module (WBAM). With it, Bassett Healthcare’s blood banks have a new range of accessibility and functionality.

During the selection process, Rebecca Frederick, MT (ASCP), network transfusion/tissue service manager, said she focused on maintaining all the capabilities of the previous application while gaining:

  • Electronic crossmatching
  • Easy interface with Echo analyzers
  • Single patient registries accessible at all facilities
  • Simple and time-saving backup processes

In addition to these goals, Bassett Healthcare has discovered many other benefits, including reduced C/T ratio and enhanced patient safety through integration with EpicCare and Beaker.

C/T ratio down 27% in just three months

 CT Ratio

Before HCLL
After 3 Months

HCLL WBAM has been live in five of Bassett Healthcare’s six hospitals since March 2015. The remaining facility is scheduled to go live with Mediware’s browser-based blood and transfusion management solution in January 2017.

Once the primary objective — electronic crossmatching — was fully functional in the blood banks, Bassett Healthcare’s team experienced an impressive reduction in C/T ratio. “We had been running a C/T ratio of about 2.2, in part because our techs wanted to be prepared with extra crossmatched units,” recalled Frederick. “After we went live with HCLL and were able to utilize electronic crossmatching, we encouraged our staff to stop setting up extra units because it was no longer necessary. And in the first quarter, from April to June, the C/T ratio was down to 1.6,” she said.

The functionality of HCLL—with testing, electronic cross-matching, issuing, and other functions like that—has created efficiencies in our department.

Rebecca Frederick, MT (ASCP)
Network Transfusion/ Tissue Service Manager

That was a nearly 27% reduction in the C/T ratio the first three months after HCLL WBAM implementation. As a result, blood utilization improved, helping Bassett Healthcare move toward LEAN processes and creating efficiencies in the department that benefit its patients and blood bank staff.

Secure web-based access across Bassett’s network

As a browser-based application, HCLL WBAM also offered the Bassett team accessibility from anywhere within the organization, so status checks can be done at a moment’s notice. Despite the easy access, security is heightened with the web-based system because the server is secure, and there’s no need to monitor individual workstations. In addition, security limitations prevent unauthorized access to patient information.

For those who have clearance to access patient data across all Bassett facilities, the “search all tasks” function enables them to find test results from other locations. “This is a nice feature that we have learned to use because we do the review for some of the other facilities,” Frederick explained.

While browser-based applications are becoming more common, the innovative concept was initially “kind of foreign to all of us,” recounted Ethel Mills, blood bank technical specialist. Although no one was sure how the web-based deployment would impact the day-to-day functionality, “It’s not the hang-up that we thought it would be,” Mills assured.

Compared to HCLL hosted on client servers, which has to be loaded onto individual workstations, the WBAM version offers easy installation. Updates are also deployed automatically across the system instead of manually at each workstation.

We are especially pleased with the backup. … It is one of the outstanding features of HCLL.

Rebecca Frederick, MT (ASCP)
Network Transfusion/ Tissue Service Manager

Smart system prevented errors

Implementing and learning new systems is always a challenge, especially under potentially stressful conditions such as urgent blood and patient needs. The challenge was compounded for many of the technician generalists, who were also learning how to operate the Beaker lab system at the same time. “It was a very steep learning curve for everyone,” said Frederick.

However, HCLL is designed to prevent errors, so despite the complexity and the inherent challenges of adapting to new systems, mistakes were avoided. “It is a really tight system,” Frederick confirmed. “There are a lot of internal rules that can be set up, and the checks and balances within the system are superb,” she continued.

Efficiencies maximized through integration

HCLL’s safety features extend beyond the blood bank due to integration with lab instruments, Beaker, and EpicCare, through which the systems send and receive patient information, communicate orders, and update results. This, according to Frederick, has proved to be a tremendous time saver. “The functionality of HCLL on the day-to-day operation—with testing, electronic crossmatching, issuing, and other functions like that—has created efficiencies in our department,” she reported.

But getting there did require some skillful interface management to ensure effective communications between the systems, mostly accomplished by Bassett Healthcare’s talented interface team. With that handled, however, orders and product statuses flow among the systems. “We didn’t always have every status update with our old system, so the statuses going back—that’s one of the pluses we have gained with HCLL,” Frederick explained.

All objectives met

After a little more than six months of working live with HCLL WBAM, the blood bank staff has become comfortable with the system and acclimated to the web-based environment. While there were challenges to overcome and a learning curve to master, the implementation proved successful.

“HCLL handles the single registry very nicely, and we are especially pleased with the backup,” Frederick stated. “We had a very cumbersome process with our previous system. It took a lot of tech time every single day, but backup is one of the outstanding features of HCLL,” she said. “We are satisfied with HCLL’s functionality and easily accomplished our objectives.”

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