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Red Cross Launches First Phase of Technology Upgrade

Central Plains Blood Services Region

August 23, 2011
 

Media Contact: Jennifer L. Keller - (316) 268-0853 / Cell: (316) 558-2428
E-Contact Info: kellerje@usa.redcross.org / http://twitter.com/redcrosskansas
Websites: www.redcrossblood.org and www.redcrossracing.com

Wichita, Kan. – Aug. 23, 2011–The American Red Cross has launched a major initiative to modernize Biomedical Services and ensure the organization will meet the needs of future generations. The Biomedical Architecture program – known as BioArch – will help the Red Cross continue to carry out its mission of providing blood and blood products of the highest possible quality. 

The Central Plains Region, headquartered in Wichita, Kan., is the 11th region of 36 Red Cross blood reigons to implement the initial phase. At this point, 15 regions have implemented BioArch.

The first phase of BioArch upgrades the software and computer equipment used during blood drives, including laptop computers, handheld units and printers. “The new equipment includes leading-edge technology that meets industry standards for reliability and information security,” said Terri Dunaway, Chief Executive Officer of the Central Plains Region.

The new technology improves how the Red Cross collects data from blood donors and tracks each unit of blood donated. The Red Cross will be able to access donor information quickly and identify more easily any information that would prevent a donor from being able to donate that day, such as if a donor recently vacationed in an area with malaria risk.

Red Cross blood drives will use a wireless network to link the Red Cross equipment. The Red Cross will train blood drive staff to set up and connect the wireless network. Security measures are in place to protect unauthorized users from accessing that network.

The upgrade in technology helps reduce manual data-entry during a drive and moves the Red Cross towards paperless blood drives. Many blood drives will utilize functionality that allows Red Cross staff to monitor queue times and the overall length of each donation, which may lead to future efficiencies. 

BioArch consists of three phases and is one of the largest initiatives ever launched by the Red Cross. It will require a very large investment in time, money and resources; however, the project will help the Red Cross better serve the patients and donors who count on us to maintain an adequate and safe blood supply.

Throughout this process, the Red Cross will monitor blood inventory levels carefully to ensure community needs continue to be met.

During the second phase of BioArch, which is scheduled to begin within the next year, the Red Cross will completely replace an aging computer system. This effort will increase flexibility to meet changing business needs, simplify processes and achieve standardization and improve automated controls

The Red Cross will also convert to international standards for labeling blood products called “ISBT 128” during this phase. “ISBT” stands for “International Society of Blood Transfusion” and “128” represents the new barcode used on the labels. ISBT 128 labels are used throughout the blood banking and healthcare community and are recognizable around the globe. 

The third phase of BioArch focuses on managing customer service. It will provide a single, industry-standard data management system for blood donors and sponsors, and offer new systems that will allow donors to choose the ways they prefer to be contacted.

The American Red Cross plays an important role in the nation’s health care system. It is the largest single supplier of blood and blood products in the United States, collecting and processing more than 40 percent of the blood supply and distributing it to approximately 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

The Red Cross also plays a leading role in protecting the safety of donors and patients and increasing the availability of blood. It has been among the first to help develop and implement testing for infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, maintains five state-of-the-art national testing labs, and is frequently a major contributor to clinical trials to improve blood safety.

How to Donate Blood:
Call 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit www.redcrossblood.org for more information or to make an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 in Kansas with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger. 

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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