These guidelines are intended to support hospital blood transfusion laboratories when changing Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and provide guidance on the operational use of such systems. The LIMS is the hub of laboratory IT in these settings and whilst many IT systems are in use in transfusion medicine, from vein to vein, these guidelines address applications which interface directly to the LIMS.

Supporting blood “tracking” applications are not covered in detail, but the interoperability with the LIMS is referenced where appropriate. Whilst these guidelines are not specifically addressing cells and tissues, organisations should consider the requirements and potential need to manage cells and tissues through the blood transfusion IT system.

Project planning is an important part of any major change and information is provided on managing change, developing a User Requirement Specification, the validation requirements and interface specification.

System to system communication is an essential requirement of healthcare computing. The LIMS will need to be able to communicate with the PAS, Electronic Request Systems (Order Comms), Electronic Blood Management Systems (EBMS) and other hospital systems. Data management and the management of data migration is covered. There is a section which describes the essential elements of functionality which includes stock management; samples and requests; component selection and component labelling and issue all essential for a LIMS system in conjunction with identifying areas where the LIMS can support and facilitate safe practice in the hospital transfusion laboratory.

Declaration of Interests

The BSH paid the expenses incurred during the writing of this guidance. None of the authors had conflicts of interest to declare. All authors have made a declaration of interests to the BSH and Task Force Chairs which may be viewed on request.