On May 6, 2019, Kantipur publication published an article (Link) about a 5 years old baby girl who passed away due to transfusion of blood component of wrong group. The blood grouping report of the girl stated she was “O” positive but she was transfused “A” positive. When a wrong type of blood is transfused in the body it is called ABO incompatible. ABO incompatibility triggers a reaction in the body which is serious and potentially fatal. These reactions are very rare as doctors are aware of the potential outcome of transfusing a wrong blood. Hence, many protocols and precaution manuals are in place to avoid these situation.
Despite those protocols, human errors are sometimes unavoidable. This brings us to the topic of using technologies that can minimise these errors which could have saved this child’s life. In the world where cars can drive themselves and radiological diagnosis is done by artificial intelligence and machine learning, we in Nepal are still using paper based health system where we almost completely rely on handwritten documents. When a patient visits a doctor in a clinic or hospital, he or she has to carry the documents and reports in a bag. Not only is it heavy to carry, it is even difficult to keep those files save at home. Imagine how easy would be if we just had to scan a barcode or an QR code and get all you information online, just like going to the cinemas these days.
An investment committee has been formed to investigate what went wrong. But whatever the true reason maybe, this highlights the need for accountability and proper checks and balances. Data brings in transparency and lowers the risks of mistakes. And in grave situations where mistakes do happen, it will make individuals and institutions accountable. Even more, data on the new blockchain technology will make records immutable, making people more accountable.