Transfusions remain a complicated procedure involving many disciplines performing various steps. Pretransfusion specimen identification errors remain a concern. Over the past two decades, system changes have been made and minimal improvements in the error rates have been seen. Wrong blood in tube (WBIT) events may lead to mistransfusions of components with life-threatening complications.
A continuous quality improvement effort involving the introduction of electronic patient identification at the point of pretransfusion specimen collection (an automated system improvement), manual independent dual verification, and periodic education (human process system improvements) were implemented.
Both automated and human system process improvements resulted in greater than 10-fold reduction in WBIT events and a 47% reduction in mislabeled specimens.
Diligent improvement and implementation of combination automated system processes and human protocols with continuous monitoring led to great reductions in WBIT error rates and labeling discrepancies, leading to an increase in system safety. These combinations of improvement can lead to more decreased error rates if applied to other critical process steps in the transfusion process.