Sunquest Information Systems Announces Release of Sunquest Laboratory v8.0

Sunquest has released v8.0 and we have started scheduling upgrade validations for clients with Sunquest.
Call our team of Validation Specialist with any questions as your team starts to make plans.

Press Release from Sunquest: New version includes significant enhancements to Sunquest Blood Bank

Tucson, Ariz., May 12, 2016 — Sunquest Information Systems Inc. today announced the general release of Sunquest LaboratoryTM v8.0.

Sunquest is the market leader for laboratory software, blood banking and transfusion services, and specimen collection and management. Sunquest Laboratory 8.0 enables laboratory and blood banking excellence by supporting multi-disciplinary, multi-site laboratories with state-of the art software designed to improve diagnostic capabilities, optimize laboratory operations and reduce medical errors. As part of the FDA-cleared Sunquest Laboratory 8.0, blood banking administration becomes easier than ever before with improved integration to enterprise EHRs, better blood unit tracking and emergency release capabilities, which enable blood banking administration in wide-spread trauma situations.

“At Sunquest, we are making healthcare smarter and patients safer when our clients use our software,” said Matthew Hawkins, president of Sunquest. “Sunquest Laboratory 8.0 is a great example of our commitment to improving healthcare. Labs play a central role in ensuring correct diagnoses, reducing medical errors, and managing transfusion and blood management services. Our clients’ capabilities improve significantly when using Sunquest solutions such as Sunquest Lab 8.0, the most intuitive and elegant laboratory and blood bank application in the world. Sunquest Lab 8.0 improves our clients’ ability to care for patients safely and cost-effectively, while integrating fully to hospital EHR solutions.”

Sunquest Laboratory 8.0 also helps laboratories demonstrate value to the health system in three important ways:
1)    Real return on investment, with faster payback period and lower total cost of ownership than other competing solutions
2)    Reduced test turnaround times, which impact important metrics such as, hospital length of stay (LOS)
3)    Correct diagnoses, which impact patient safety, patient outcomes and hospital readmission rates

Sunquest Laboratory v8.0 will be featured at the Sunquest User Group Conference in July in Tucson, Ariz. For more information about the product release, please email

7 Phases for Successful Epic Beaker Project Planning

7 Phases for Successful Epic Beaker Project Planning

Spring has arrived and for many laboratories that means planning is underway for new LIS projects. If a roll out of a new LIS system is something your team is tackling, here is an outline of 7 project phases our Beaker certified staff of licensed Medical Technologists (MT) believe to be critical parts of a successful plan.  Following all the steps and phases will help you achieve your goal, ensure the needs of your lab are met, and ensure patient safety.

1: Planning – Application Coordinator and Application Manager have onsite visit from Epic team to evaluate the lab department.

Key points: Make sure all software and technical aspects of the lab are included:  Blood Bank, Anatomic Pathology, Laboratory Automation System, and Analyzer Instruments.

2: Installation – Shell System is installed as a Basic Foundation System including build of all lab tests.

Key point: Your lab team can provide a complete list of all order codes and tests available, including all reference lab tests.  This will help you to avoid delays and manually needing to build them later on.

3: Validation – Usually a 3 month time period consisting of site visits to go through lab workflow and determine customization requirements.

Key point:  Ensure Subject Matter Experts (SME) from each department are included for decision making. 

ü  Clerical/Billing

ü  Chemistry

ü  Specimen Processing

ü  Hematology

ü  Microbiology

ü  Blood Bank

ü  Urinalysis

ü  Pathology

 4: BuildBeaker Build occurs in a 3-4 month period concurrent with all other system builds.

Key Point: Many detailed build items occur during this phase.  Some items will be completed by IT personnel and other by laboratory assigned resources.  Experience and clinical knowledge are critical at this step.  Include your Beaker Certified MT or MLT in all aspects of the build, their clinical knowledge is invaluable to completing a full lab build and have it done right prior to the MRT testing period. 

·   Order Codes and Test Codes – Only the initial build is done via export/import functionality so be sure to assign each department SME their section to validate.

§  Facility Structure Build – The full lab and department outline will be detailed here. Include your specimen routing logic, auto cancel rule, and worklists for bench development.

§  Instruments – All analyzer setup occurs here and mapping may be completed by an IT resource, but a MT or MLT should review and sign-off on all data.  Laboratory staff should determine if processing rules will be written in the middleware selected or built in the application.

§  QC Build – A Unity Real Time external product or Beaker internal QC functions can be used for this build, but a department SME should work to develop the scheduled QC runs and alerts within system.

§  Security Build (outside Epic Beaker Module) –Having a certified resource assigned to build all lab users, allows control as to which lab facilities your end users will have access to.

§  Charge Build (outside Epic Beaker Module) – Laboratory build of CPT per order code or result code. Be sure to include a billing specialist to complete this build.  (BCS has developed a detailed billing testing plan that can be incorporated in your system validation to monitor accuracy.)

§  Patient Reports & Labels – Extra time and attention should be dedicated to make sure all CLIA and CAP reporting features are included for proper specimen or patient identification prior to reporting. 

§  Reference Lab Interface – Completed primarily by using translation tables which may be managed by the IT department. Again, include your specimen processing specialist for review and sign off of actual naming mapping and specimen mapping.

§  Custom Management Report Writing – This can be a very technical skill but laboratory personal need to provide the guidance on what they need to capture. 

§  Outreach EMR Interfaces – All outreach systems need to be validated against the new LIS Order and Test build to ensure translation tables are built with the new codes.

5: Testing (Mapped Record Testing) – Internal MRT process within Beaker. Each Order code is ordered and downloaded to the analyzers. Review results returned to ensure each posts to the representative result code. Include MRT to Reference Lab interface and EMR Interfaces.

Key Point:  MRT testing does not cover all CAP mandated checks to ensure laboratory results are complete and compliant.   Work with your project manager to add extra steps in your project plan that check for the following CAP regulations:

ü  Patient Name & Unique Identifier

ü  Name & Address of Testing Lab

ü  Name of Test Performed

ü  Test Report Date

ü  Physician of Record or Ordering Person

ü  Test Results Including Units & Interpretation (if applicable)

*If applicable/appropriate: Specimen Source, Specimen Comments, Date/Time of Specimen Collection, Time of Release of Report, Reference Ranges

6: Training – Workflows are developed by the Instructional Designer to train internal staff.

Key Point:  Include audit tracking to ensure all staff completes training and are signed off as compliant. Strong SOPs will help ensure processes are followed, and new personnel are trained properly.

7: Data Conversion – At this point, your old LIS is able to be exported and imported to Beaker for reference.  There is no limit to the amount of data that can be imported.

Key Point:  Have MT involved in linking each test/result from the old system to the new Beaker code.

After completing these 7 project phases, it’s time to take a deep breath and realize that your lab has gone live with Epic. Congratulations!  Our team has worked through these phases numerous times with Epic and Beaker, as well as with Epic and other Laboratory Systems, having seen firsthand how good planning and qualified resources can impact not only the build, but reduce the risk of retests and lost revenue. Carefully executing these 7 phases will help your new system work for your lab and your patients. Please call us for more information or help with any part of your project.  We’d love to help!

(480) 346-7011

Planning for the new Cerner 2015.01 Version Upgrade

Cerner has released a major upgrade for 2015.  Specific changes to the PathNet Blood Bank Transfusion system promise an updated display, style, color palette and user interface patterns.  In addition to changes on how blood products are ordered, crossmatch warnings and exception reports will also be updated.

Specialists in Cerner validation, BC Solutions has developed a unique methodology that reduces the total validation testing time by 50-60%.  Our team of validation experts has proven to be best in the industry.  With decades of clinical laboratory and blood banking experience on our team, we target high risk areas in our testing protocols to ensure patient safety and blood safety requirements are met.  With a BC Solutions validation, your system will be audit ready with clear and compliant documentation.

Visit the Blood Bank Validation page on our website ( ) for more information about the R.F. Nozick Validation Program as well as what is included in a Cerner Millennium Pathnet Blood Bank Transfusion Validation.

Contact us for additional information and find out how to add our experts to your team!

Project Partnership: Great Clients = Great Projects

working-togetherProjects, even relatively small ones, aren’t often easy. Communication, resources, scheduling, and information sharing are just a few of the things that can make or break a project, even when managed by seasoned professionals. A healthy project partnership will help make things less difficult. We are fortunate that we get to work with clients who really go the extra mile to make sure projects go as smoothly as possible.

We are currently wrapping up a blood bank validation, billing testing, and interface testing project for New York Blood Center (@NYBloodCenter). Shankar Rayannavar, the project manager for NYBC, was responsible for project management of this multi-pronged integration project for two separate facilities. Shankar was instrumental in opening lines of communication by organizing kick off calls with multiple project stakeholders, and he continued to work side by side with BC Solutions to facilitate movement on projects when communication with key resources was stalled. He has also been an active participant in the interface testing as an analyst, proving that you cannot underestimate the value of a team player. Thank you, Shankar and NYBC!

One of our recently completed OQ (operational qualification) blood bank validation and unit testing projects was with Sharp Healthcare (@SharpHealthcare). Alvin Conchas and Bernadette Pingao are the project managers we were happy to work with at Sharp. Their excellent and timely communication with BC Solutions and Sharp staff helped keep the project on task and ahead of schedule. Geri Bollman, Sandy Lonnecker and other blood bank managers were always ready to provide timely responses to our technical and clinical inquiries. Their expertise and teamwork added immeasurable value to the projects. It’s always great to have repeat clients like Sharp Healthcare!

Compliance Quality Audits are Good for Everyone

At BC Solutions, we consider ourselves a part of the transfusion medicine community. Our services help the community with safety and efficacy of their software systems and this in turn leads to increased patient safety.

Many people hear the word “audit” and cringe. They have visions of inspectors combing through files just to find something to complain about. But quality audits are a critical and often times misinterpreted part of compliant blood bank systems. In fact, the audit is a vital part of any quality program. Regular audits show that a facility has a healthy continuous improvement program.

A good auditor will examine a program and understand how it works as a system and offer recommendations for improvement. The auditor will start with an opening meeting to discuss how the audit will proceed. Following the opening meeting the auditor will review the quality manual and in particular those parts that relate to the blood bank’s automated software system.

During the audit, the auditor will interview personnel to understand their knowledge of the quality system and how the facility operates. The auditor will follow paths in the system to ensure it functions as described in documented policies and procedures. Any failures of the system will be noted and brought to the attention of the system owners. If the blood bank has had process failures in the past, the auditor will inspect the quality system to insure that the failures were detected. The auditor also confirms that the change control system fully implements any fixes required in accordance with documented policies and procedures.

The auditor should conclude with a closing meeting to discuss major findings. In the closing meeting the auditor will discuss all findings and observations from the audit. This is the blood bank staff’s chance to be certain they understand in detail all that was found. Staff members should ask the auditor to summarize the status of the quality system they observed and request any recommendations for improvement. Staff should refrain from justification questions and ask only questions for detail and clarity. This will give the blood bank of a complete and unbiased assessment of their system.

A compliance quality program should be ready for an audit at any time.

Please do not hesitate to call or email BC Solutions with any questions you may have concerning compliance quality audits or any other compliance matter.

Call us at 480-346-7011, or email for more information.

Trending: Blood Banks for Your Pet

blood banks for petsAs treatments and procedures for animals become more sophisticated, the need for available blood has become apparent. Animals require blood transfusions for the same reason people do. Perhaps they are sick, injured, or need major surgery. Because of that, many veterinarian practices are establishing blood banks for pets.

Just like blood banks for humans, pet blood banks require donors. Not surprisingly, many pet owners have stepped up and volunteered their pets to supply blood. But even still, the demand for pet blood is often in short supply.

There are many national pet blood banks that ship blood throughout the country, like HemoSolutions located in Colorado Springs. HemoSolutions has a checklist that dogs must meet in order to qualify as a dog blood donor:

  • Be healthy, obedient and even tempered
  • Be between the ages of 1 and 8 years old
  • Weigh at least 50 pounds
  • Have all vaccinations up-to-date
  • Receive heartworm preventative April through October
  • Be willing to donate at least 6 times a year

To encourage donations, HemoSolutions donates $75-$150 directly to the donors veterinarian after 6 donations.

In most cases, the pets really don’t seem to mind. In an interview with CNBC, Operations Director at HemoSolutions, Rebecca Nusbaum, says that the dogs get “lots of belly rubs and baby talk”. Of course there is the gratuitous toy or treat at the end for dogs. Cats on the other hand are anesthetized for obvious reasons.

In the past, very few vets even considered transfusions, mostly because there was no bank of blood to call upon. But with more and more pet blood banks appearing on the national and local levels, vets are able to save more pets lives even when major surgery is required.

Some pet blood suppliers, like Animal Blood Resources International out of California, run their own kennel of dog and cats to act as a source of blood donations. Most of the pets they take care of are rescued animals that would have otherwise been euthanized. They also work with other kennels and breeders in California to build their supply of blood.

The interesting element of this is that it turns out dogs have about six different blood types with some being considered universal donors. Cats are simpler with only two blood types. It’s been estimated that one dog donation can save up to four dogs while a cat blood donation can save up to two.

First Time Blood Donor? Here's What To Expect..

first time blood donorMost everyone knows or have at least heard of the benefits of donating blood. There’s a large portion of the population that wants to donate blood but is afraid to take that first step because they simply don’t know what to expect. It’s a reasonable fear because most of our first experience with giving blood was at the doctors office when were young and that’s where we learned needles can hurt! Today, we thought we would share what to expect on you first time donating blood and suggestions on how to prepare.

First step is to find a local blood donation center near you. A quick visit to the internet will give you blood banks and blood donation centers in your area.

Once you have found a place, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Make sure you have a light meal and drink plenty of fluids before going. For most places, you will need to bring your donor’s card, driver’s license or two forms of identification. Have a list of all of the current medications you are taking as well.

While some donation centers may vary on the procedure, here’s a basic rundown on what to expect.

This is where a volunteer or member of the staff will have you register and go over basic eligibility and donation information. Note you will need to present identification so be sure to have it handy.

Before giving blood, there will be a short review of your medical history and places you’ve traveled. The staff will most likely check your temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin level in a sample of blood.

The actual donation takes around 8-10 minutes. The staff do a great job to make sure you are seated and comfortable. Volunteers are always on hand if you have any questions or concerns. The amount of blood is usually approximately one pint. Note there are special donations, such as platelets, red cells, or plasma which can take up to two hours.

It’s recommended to have a small snack and something to drink after donating in the refreshment area. They will normally want you to stay about 10 or 15 minutes before continuing your day. The body normally replenishes the volume of fluid within a few hours.

That’s all there is to it! Once you get the first time out of the way, you will most likely return again and again. Most centers will track the amount of blood you’ve given and give special rewards for certain milestones. In the end, your greatest reward is realizing you may have helped to save a life in the process.

Cord Blood Banking

Among the recent trends for expectant parents is the practice of cord blood banking. Cord blood banking is when stems cells from the umbilical cord are stored for potential future medical use. But why has this become such a popular practice?

Cord blood contains stem cells which have the ability to transform into just about any human cell. While cord blood cells are mostly used to treat blood and immune system related genetic diseases, cancers, and blood disorders currently,  there is hope that through research they will be used to treat a much wider variety of conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries.

Many parents feel it is well worth the cost to save these cells even though there is broad debate on the odds of ever having to use them.  One private cord blood bank puts the odds at 1 in 27 whereas The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests it’s more like 1 in 200,000.  Even still, you will be hard pressed to find a doctor that would advise against it.

“I don’t think you’ll get arguments from any doctor about the wisdom of banking if you have {certain}  diseases running in the family,”  says Jeffrey Ecker, MD, as quoted at , suggesting that the cells could be used for family members as well.

As far as actually storing the cells, parents have the option of a private bank or a public bank.  Like the name suggests, public banks would make the cells available for anyone who needs them where private banks are simply for the individual or family. However, because of the rarity of having to use cord blood for treatment, it’s feasible that cells banked at a public bank may still be available to an individual even after several years.

In the end, cord blood banking is a personal decision. As with any medical decision, its best to do research and consult a professional physician to learn all of the pros and cons before investing.