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Blood management system delivers for public and private health

18 December, 2008

A new blood management system introduced by Queensland Health is delivering better patient outcomes and cost savings in public and private hospitals, Health Minister Stephen Robertson has said.

Robertson said the new web based ordering and receipting system for blood and blood products would improve record keeping and traceability of products supplied by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service (ARCBS).

"Queensland Health's Ordering and Receipting Blood System (ORBS) is an important innovation in the field of blood management," he said.

"Following a successful pilot scheme at the Gold Coast Hospital in early 2008, the system has been rolled out in 34 public and 31 private pathology laboratories across Queensland.

"It's the first system in Australia to allow the tracking of blood and blood products from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to the pathology laboratories in both public and private hospitals.

"This will help to ensure safe, sufficient and affordable blood supplies are available to both public and private sector blood partners in Queensland.

"It will mean improved patient outcomes and allow us to better manage this precious resource, as well as delivering cost savings."

Robertson said Queensland Health developed the new system as part of its ongoing review and improvement processes.

"Queensland Health has an obligation to implement effective blood management strategies," Robertson said.

"Without a safe and sustainable supply of blood, our hospitals simply wouldn't be able to operate.

"ORBS reduces costs as hospitals can now order specific blood stocks and receipt them against their order.

"Previously, the ordering and receipting of blood and blood products was more difficult to reconcile.

"The system was developed with extensive consultation and support from the ARCBS, Queensland Health's Pathology Queensland Staff, Queensland Medical Laboratory (QML), Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) and the Commonwealth's National Blood Authority."

Robertson said 5,400 orders for blood and blood products had been placed in the system, with 7,300 issue notes tracked within the system and 47,200 individual fresh components receipted.

Ensuring Queensland's hospitals have an adequate blood supply costs more than $150 million annually, with costs increasing by around 10 per cent a year.