Latest News
On World Blood Donor Day, Think ‘Track, Trace, and Temperature’

Image: Zebra Technologies

On World Blood Donor Day, Think ‘Track, Trace, and Temperature’

With More Donors Needed, the Vein-to-Vein Process Needs to Protect Every Donation

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), a leading digital solution provider enabling businesses to intelligently connect data, assets, and people, says blood donor services and partners should think ‘track, trace, and temperature’ as we mark World Blood Donor Day on 14 June.

08 Apr 2024 - Zebra: New Generative AI Capabilities at Google Cloud Next

One of the aims of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is to call attention to the need to mobilise support at the national, regional and global levels among governments and development partners to invest in, strengthen and sustain national blood programmes.

A regular supply of blood and plasma from donors is vital for ensuring that patients are kept healthy and healthcare professionals can provide blood in an emergency. According to the European Blood Alliance, there are around 15 million blood donors in Europe, with 25 million unites transferred each year. According to studies published in Spain and France, the average total cost of a blood transfusion can range from €370 to €430.

However, supply can vary, meaning every blood and plasma donation needs to be protected to ensure none are lost or wasted. A recent European Union (EU) debate on plasma donation highlighted that there is currently an estimated shortfall of over five million litres of plasma needed to manufacture plasma-derived medicines.

“I have personally donated blood around 80 times, but donations alone are not enough,” said Wayne Miller, Director of Healthcare, EMEA, Zebra Technologies. “That’s why I also work with healthcare leaders to ensure every accepted blood and plasma product remains available for its full life cycle. We can’t allow improper labelling, handling, storage, records, rotation or temperature to prevent donated blood and plasma from being distributed to those who need it.”

Track and Trace

04 Apr 2024 - MC9400 Ultra-Rugged Mobile Computer

Just consider how much the Royal Children’s Hospital improved patient safety by updating its scanning technology and increasing the efficiency of its barcode-based blood scanning process, or how simple it was for Sanquin, a Dutch blood bank, to create a fail-safe solution for labelling blood products. The investment was primarily in a printer upgrade. It also became much easier for a large blood bank system to preserve blood products after putting temperature indicators on each bag.

It’s important that donations are correctly labelled at the point of donation. It ensures the donation, donor and time of donation are linked and traceable. Alongside the needle, vials and blood bags are the mobile barcode label printer, temperature sensing label and ISEGA-tested blood bag labels. There also needs to be a barcode scanner or mobile computer to connect to a donor’s blood donation record. Labels and barcodes help ensure that the transfer of donations to blood testing labs is done in the safest way possible, with accurate record keeping of when and where donations are sent and received. This helps ensure no blood is lost in transit, left out on a counter, or left in storage too long.

If the blood sample is deemed safe and acceptable, then the associated blood bags – all donated units – can be labelled to the global ISBT 128 standard. Both the primary and secondary labels put on the bags should include a unique donation identification number (DIN) imprinted to allow for vein-to-vein traceability. Once the labels are affixed, their barcodes can be scanned, parsed, and verified. A new chain of traceability is created when the blood donation and patient recipient are linked, via the data stored on blood bags and data stored in the patient’s electronic health record (EHR), easily accessed via scanning a patient’s wristband.


“Tracking and traceability are not the only consideration – maintaining the correct temperature from vein-to-vein is essential,” said Miller. “Blood bags left unattended or exposed to temperatures could compromise safety and quality. If there’s any doubt about the blood’s viability, it will be rendered unusable and go to waste.”

Thankfully, there are new temperature-controlled transportation systems being created. For example, using a combination of purpose-built insulated blood transport bags, barcode labels, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and readers, and electronic temperature sensors mean donations can be tracked at dispatch, in transit, and at the point of receipt at the lab. A passive RFID system reads the tags on the blood vials at each stage of the chain, and an electronic temperature sensor in the pocket in the blood transport bag tracks temperature data every minute. The temperature data is read upon receipt at the lab, with data transferred to the cloud and accessed via dashboards on desktop and mobile devices.

“Lab staff can accurately and quickly see if the correct temperature has been maintained and move the donation to the next stage or not, meaning time isn’t wasted and the chance of errors or risks is reduced, which is what in-demand blood and plasma services need and donors and patients deserve,” said Miller.

Key Takeaways

  • On World Blood Donor Day, services should think ‘track, trace, and temperature’ to strengthen and sustain national blood programmes.
  • Vein-to-vein traceability is safeguarded using a combination of labels and barcoding on vials and blood bags, linked to digital donor records and patient electronic health records.
  • Temperature is also an essential consideration when transporting and storing blood and plasma, with new solutions using RFID and electronic temperature sensors to unlock new levels of safety, data insight and enabling timely decision-making.

Get to know our products

WT5400 Wearable Computer
MC9400 Ultra-Rugged Mobile Computer
TC5 Mobile Computer Series
ZD600 Series 4-inch Desktop Printers
DS9900 Series Corded Hybrid Imager for Retail
RFD90 Ultra-Rugged UHF RFID Sleds
MC3300 RFID Series Mobile Computers
ZQ520 Mobile RFID Printer
AN440 RFID Antenna
Alexander Honigmann
Alexander Honigmann
Sales Director Retail and Logistics Germany
Ratingen, Germany
Stephan Pottel
Stephan Pottel
Business Development Manager EMEA Manufacturing
Ratingen, Germany
Chris Schaefer
Chris Schaefer
Senior Director, Global Market Development
Thomas Duparque
Thomas Duparque
Business Development Manager, Healthcare EMEA
, Madrid
Cookies are necessary to provide you with our services. By continuing your visit on the website, you consent to the use of cookies.
More information Ok