A framework for tracking and monitoring blood transfusion services
Muzahuzi, George Ochieng
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Blood and blood products transfusion constitute one of the most critical determinants of sophisticated health care services rendered by a healthcare institution be it private or public. In comparison to other medicines, blood and blood products are supposed to be managed with high degree of efficacy and precision because their availability cannot be guaranteed in the shortest possible time while they also perish after so short a period of time when they are mishandled by both the supplier institutions (mainly national blood banks) as well as transfusing units. Basing on these unique attributes, efforts must be made to ensure that every other unit circulating between blood banks and transfusing units are managed optimally and accounted for at every stage of the supply chain. However, in many developing countries including Uganda, the blood supply chain is marred with several shortcomings that have led to loss of lives. Based on this proposition, the purpose of the study was to design a framework for tracking and monitoring blood transfusion services in Uganda with due emphasis on Mulago National Referral Hospital. Specifically, the study set out to:1) assess the linkages in the blood supply chain between UBTS and MNRH in order to identify existing gaps; 2) to design a framework for closing the identified gaps; and 3) to evaluate and recommend the designed framework for deployment. The study adopted design science research methodology whose main output was a framework designed to streamline tracking and monitoring of blood and blood transfusion services. Both primary and secondary data were collected by this study. These were both quantitative and qualitative. Descriptive statistics and charts were used to analyze quantitative data while narrative text and verbatim quotations were used for secondary data. Results showed that there were gaps in the blood supply chain linkages between UBTS and MNRH that included: lack of integrated information systems, manual recording and reporting of blood transfusion processes, limited or no patient involvement and manual stock management. This necessitated designing of an IT-enabled framework for improving on tracking and monitoring of blood and blood products transfusion at MNRH. The designed framework as also evaluated to ascertain its efficiency and usability. The evaluation revealed that the framework has the potential of improving the efficacy of blood transfusion. Equally, the evaluated framework was confirmed by the respondents to be tailored to their routine activities. This study has contributed IT-enabled framework to correct the inefficiencies in tracking and monitoring blood transfusion services. As well, the equally added to existing body of knowledge on how to improve the ailing health system of Uganda using IS frameworks. The study recommended the need for management of all health facilities especially those rendering blood transfusion services to adopt and use the framework designed for purposes of improving the blood supply chain.