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Frontpage News 2012 Safer blood donations in Hungary

EEA Grants project ensures safer blood donations in Hungary

  • Hungary will replace its paper-based system of tracking 800,000 blood products changing veins each year with an electronic blood trail to cut costs, save blood and increase patient safety.

    Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have awarded the National Blood Bank in Hungary a €2.2 million grant in June 2007 to establish a nation-wide online communication system between the blood bank and the country’s hospitals and university policlinics to trace blood transfusions. The Ministry of Healthcare in Hungary is contributing with the remaining 15% of the project costs.
    The cutting edge IT system is a response to the EU blood safety and quality regulations, which came into force in 2005, stating that all EU hospitals must have systems in place to trace blood and blood products from the donor to the patient and store this data for 30 years.

    Blood saved

    Donated blood is both scarce and has a short shelf life. The electronic labelling and tracking of the physical location of each blood bag will ensure stock rotation and control over the units that end up not being used by the hospitals or returned to the blood centres. "With the introduction of the new IT system we expect to decrease the number of transfusions that we think aren't justified and the quantities of blood products that are given out, but not transfused", Dr. Klára Barótiné Tóth, project manager and expert in transfusiology, said. She added that the project will reduce regional imbalances in blood supply, by increasing the chances of smaller locations to obtain blood as blood supply will become more homogeneous. "This online mechanism is so important for us, as time, accuracy and quality is of essence when dealing with blood".

    Cutting paper-work

    The coming nation-wide system will connect the blood bank IT system e-Progresa used in the National Blood Supply Service's headquarter in Budapest and the underlying 24 blood centres with the IT systems at 4 university policlinics and 19 county hospitals in Hungary.
    Today the National Blood Supply Service in Hungary and the country’s hospitals operate with different IT systems, leaving the recording of the average 800,000 transfusion events in Hungary each year to be on paper. Barótiné Tóth explained: "Both the national blood bank and the hospitals have IT systems capable of tracing blood, but these are not compatible or interconnected. This leads to situations where for example the doctors have to send us their patients' needs for blood and blood products by fax". Scrapping this paper-based system will significantly free up staff resources and the national blood bank expects a 50% surge in efficiency.

    Safer transfusions

    In addition to cutting administrative burdens, the vein to vein blood tracking system will increase patient safety. "We will create a nation-wide blood donor and blood stock register, which we can safely relay on in organising our blood supply activities throughout Hungary", Barótiné Tóth said. "This means a complete electronic audit trail with full traceability of blood from its arrival in the blood bank to its safe transfusion to the right patient". As well as ensuring an accurate trail between donor and patient, the hospitals will be able to use the system to record data on their follow up on the patient after the transfusion.
    The national blood bank hopes their new IT system will be a model project for other EU countries, especially central and eastern European countries. "Our aim is to share the experience of implementing and operating this IT system with any professional and scientific experts in interested institutions in the EU", Barótiné Tóth said.

    Read more project facts by running a search for HU0018 in the EEA Grants project database.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    Establishment of monitoring in blood-provision

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Health and childcare


    € 2,189,410



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    National Blood Supply Service (Országos Vérellátó Szolgálat)

    Type of institution:

    National authority

    Project website:

    Project duration:

    30 months

    Project cost:

    € 2,575,777

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    Norway Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    06 December 2007

    The purpose of the Project is to develop a nation wide IT database system to ensure blood supply traceability in view to combat contagious diseases (AIDS, hepatitis C etc.), with the overall objective of improving the standard of the health system in Hungary, in line with the EU legislation. Reference is made to the application, dated 27 March 2006 and to Focal Point correspondence dated 23 March 2007 and 3 May 2007.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - develop a nation wide database IT system;

    - needs assessment in OVSz (the National Blood Supply Service) and four university polyclinics plus 19 county hospitals;

    - purchase of hardware equipment;

    - purchase of software system;

    - develop, customize, test and run the system;

    - provide training for the key users and end-users;

    - prepare the manual for the system users;

    - promotion activities.

    The Project Promoter is the National Blood Supply Service (OVSz).

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible Project costs.