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HL7 Standards Coming to Blood Banks

February 8, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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HealthLevel Seven International, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based organization responsible for the standards for interoperability of health information technology and America’s Blood Centers, the Washington D.C.-based association of independent community blood centers, announced that HL7 has published an implementation guide to extend the HL7 standard used by many hospitals into the blood center environment. 

The blood banking specification implementation guide, informally called Blood Banking HL7 (BBHL7), was developed by a multidisciplinary project team headed by former Blood Systems CIO Jonathan Harber. The team was composed of standards experts, blood center IT and operations personnel, and representatives of blood establishment computer software (BECS) vendors.

HL7 Version 2.6 Implementation Guide: Blood Bank Donation Service (US Realm) Release 1 is available on the HL7 website at: http://www.hl7.org/implement/standards/product_brief.cfm?product_id=260.

The blood banking specification will allow speedy and accurate data exchanges between blood center devices and systems and eventually between blood centers and transfusion centers, says HL7. The organization says this will reduce transfusion errors and improving patient safety. The HL7 standard is the most common data exchange standard used by hospitals and clinical laboratories. BBHL7 includes trigger events, message definitions, and data structures for the blood banking donor experience (donor registration, donor identification, mini-physical, medical history questionnaire, eligibility, phlebotomy, and product transport).

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