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Current risk from transfusion is largely because of noninfectious hazards and defects in the overall process of delivering safe transfusion therapy. Safe transfusion therapy depends on a complex process that requires integration and coordination among multiple hospital services including laboratory medicine, nursing, anesthesia, surgery, clerical support, and transportation. The multidisciplinary hospital transfusion committee has been traditionally charged with oversight of transfusion safety. However, in recent years, this committee may have been neglected in many institutions. Resurgence in hospital oversight of patient safety and transfusion efficacy is an important strategy for change. A new position, the transfusion safety officer (TSO), has been developed in some nations to specifically identify, resolve, and monitor organizational weakness leading to unsafe transfusion practice. New technology is becoming increasingly available to improve the performance of sample labeling and the bedside clerical check. Several technology solutions are in various stages of development and include wireless handheld portable digital assistants, advanced bar coding, radiofrequency identification, and imbedded chip technology. Technology-based solutions for transfusion safety will depend on the larger issue of the technology for patient identification. Devices for transfusion safety hold exciting promise but need to undergo clinical trials to show effectiveness and ease of use. Technology solutions will likely require integration with delivery of pharmaceuticals to be financially acceptable to hospitals.

Original publication




Journal article


Transfus Med Rev

Publication Date





169 - 180


Blood Transfusion, Health Personnel, Hospitals, Humans, Medical Laboratory Science, Patient Identification Systems, Safety, Societies, Medical, Specimen Handling, Transfusion Reaction