What is ISBT 128?

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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 within 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 check digits 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.

More information and next steps

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. 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 be providing an ISBT 128 Information Pack to customers in the coming month. This will provide all the information needed to get ready for this change.

For further technical information about the transition label please see the Australian Guidelines for the Labelling of Blood Components using ISBT128 or the International Council for Commonality in Blood Banking Automation (ICCBBA)