For the second year in a row, SCC Soft Computer's SoftBank II, a blood bank and transfusion service management system, was recognized as the category leader in blood bank solutions in the recently released “2010 Top 20 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Professional Services” report.
According to the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, almost 5 million Americans need blood transfusions each year. And while most blood transfusions go smoothly, serious problems can occur. “Critical safety functions throughout the SoftBank II system allow users to focus on what's important-providing safe blood components, tissue, and derivative products to their patients,” says Gilbert Hakim, SCC's founder and CEO.
SoftBank II is a centralized transfusion service management system, designed and developed in 1992. “The first version, released in 1993, provided a comprehensive, cost-effective pre-transfusion testing and inventory management solution for SCC SoftLab clients and those using other HIS/LIS solutions,” says Hakim.
Over the years, SoftBank has evolved to keep up with regulatory changes and with the addition of interfaced instrumentation. “Two reasons for the product's success are SCC's commitment and funding for steady and constant improvement of SoftBank for almost 20 years, and input from our dynamic client base,” says Hakim.
Providing Safe Blood Products to Patients
According to Hakim, SCC sets high standards for its products. “Receiving market approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) validates our objective of meeting safety regulations,” he says.
SoftBank provides a controlled and documented process for blood bank testing and issue of products, thereby reducing the risk of improper actions or products being administered. One of its key features is an internal ISBT component labeling module, explains Hakim. Users also have the option of interfacing SoftBank to the Digi-Trax system to generate labels.
In addition, SCC offers a point-of-care transfusion management solution-SoftID. Tx-or can support the use of third-party solutions. “When the SoftBank system interfaces to SoftID.Tx or third-party products, it helps to ensure positive identification at the bedside,” explains Hakim.
During trauma situations, the SoftBank system will allow multiple users simultaneously to perform tasks on a single patient while maintaining patient safety. “The emergency issue function combines the unit selection and issuing process so it can provide blood products for a patient in a time-saving manner,” Hakim adds.
SoftBank also helps provide safe blood products to neonatal patients. “The ability to recognize a patient as a neonate is an important aspect of patient handling, and can expedite the process of selecting and issuing products and help avoid any unnecessary warnings due to the different regulatory requirements for neonates,” Hakim explains.
Using Input for Product Enhancements
Hakim says that SCC uses several channels to solicit user input for product improvements to its SoftBank solution, including through the company's sales force, during system demonstrations, and from vendors.
SCC also gets enhancement suggestions from its SoftBank special interest group. Users enter their recommendations, which are compiled and reviewed at least once a year during the annual Soft Network Users Group (SNUG) healthcare information technology summit. “When these suggestions are approved by the group, they are scheduled to be included in the SoftBank product,” Hakim says. SCC also tracks software change requests made by its clients.
According to Hakim, SoftBank will continue to evolve. “End-users need to be able to continue to streamline their workflows and take advantage of new technology as it becomes available,” he emphasizes. “Decision-support software devices are highly regulated and require knowledgeable user intervention for documenting certain steps and events in a transfusion service environment,” he adds. “That is why it is important for our blood services products to keep pace with industry standards.”
For example, SCC is planning to interface SoftBank to the Blood Track system, “which will allow for remote allocation and dispensing of blood products,” says Hakim. “This will improve the turnaround times in getting blood products to critical areas such as surgery and emergency departments.” SCC is closely watching adaptation of generic testing for use in blood typing, Hakim adds. “We have an ongoing dialogue with long-term SCC client NIH and are discussing the use of SCC's Genetics Information Systems Suite and how information could be shared with SoftBank.”
SCC is also focusing greater attention on nonblood biologic products, such as stem cells, bone, and tissue. “We are working on SoftBioBank-a banking system for tissue, bone, and derivate products,” says Hakim. The product is undergoing beta testing and is expected to be available sometime this year.
Healthcare Informatics 2011 March;28(3):S18