ISBT 128 labelling coming in 2018

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Learn when, how and why the change is coming.

Work on the implementation of the ISBT 128 labelling standard has restarted at the Blood Service and we are very excited about this upcoming change. A firm date has yet to be determined but we anticipate that customers will begin to see the new ISBT 128 ‘Transition Label’ on blood products just before June 2018.

To help customers manage inventory without disruption, blood products will be labelled with an ISBT 128 Transition Label. The ISBT 128 Transition Label has two parts: the upper portion that contains the ISBT 128 barcodes and a distinct transition zone in the lower portion of the label containing the current linear Codabar barcodes (see image). Therefore if you are not ready to use ISBT128 yet, you can continue to scan only the barcodes in the transition zone.

The Blood Service will provide all customers with an ISBT 128 Communications Pack that will provide all the information needed to get ready for this change. It will include FAQs, email and video updates, and an example transition label for testing. We’ll also be providing regular progress updates to customers in various ways, including here in Blood Service in Brief.

For further technical information about the transition label please see the Australian Guidelines for the Labelling of Blood Components using ISBT 128 at or the International Council for Commonality in Blood Banking Automation (ICCBBA)

What is ISBT 128 and why do we need it?

Ensuring the accurate, clear and unambiguous transfer of information is a critical element of patient safety. The Information Standard for Blood and Transplant (ISBT 128) is the global standard for the labelling and information transfer of Medical Products of Human Origin.

The Blood Service will be adopting the ISBT 128 standard for labelling of all blood products. It will create a unique identifier for Australian blood products and will prevent duplicate donation identification numbers for a 100-year period worldwide.

Hospitals, blood centres, tissue and cellular therapy facilities and plasma fractionators in more than 75 countries have adopted the ISBT 128 standard. In Australia, it will provide greater accuracy and safety benefits for donors, patients and health providers as the ISBT 128 barcode will result in fewer system and identification errors.

ISBT 128 will also help blood services and health providers across the world link consistent products in an international database, eliminate the need for re-labelling products used internationally, and reduce costs by allowing instrument manufacturers to build to a global standard.

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