Second runner-up:

LifeSouth Community Blood Centers L

ifeSouth Community Blood Centers was established in 1974 as a nonprofit organization in Gainesville, Florida. Today they have more than 900 employees (74 FTEs across their laboratories), 30 locations, and 54 bloodmobiles, they partner with more than 100 hospitals in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. LifeSouth has two Immunohematology Reference Labs (IRLs) based in Gainesville, FL and Atlanta, GA. Their Quality Control Labs (QCLs) provide analytical testing to ensure the safety, purity, and potency of their blood components and cord blood products. Their Cord Blood Bank (CBB) is one of seven public CBBs licensed by the FDA and produces the biological drug product CORDCYTE. The CBB collects umbilical cord blood at 11 of their partner hospitals. Transfusion Services are provided for select area hospitals.

Customer service LifeSouth achieves its mission of excellence by adhering

STARS, which stands for Safety, Teamwork, A Difference, Reputation, and Stewardship.

The IRLs contribute to the American Rare Donor Program (ARDP) and participate in AABB’s National Blood Exchange (NBE).

instructional design, as well as a Laboratory Resource Management team in Gainesville dedicated to internal/ external blood component logistics and customer service. Their Medical Directors are board certified in Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine. The medical team provides a 24/7/365 consultation MD Hotline Service.

Productivity The lab’s certified technologists and specialists performed nearly 85,000 tests in 2018. Tests performed on blood components include hematocrits and platelet counts on a Sysmex XE-2100D, residual WBCs using BD’s FACS- CantoII flow cytometers, HLA antibody detection using the Luminex 200 and 3D, and microbial detection testing using Verax Platelet PGD Test. Tests performed for cord blood products include com- plete blood counts on their two XE-2100D hematology analyzers; CD34/CD45 enumeration and viability, nRBC, and total WBC viability by flow cytometry; colony form- ing units (CFUs) using STEMVision; sterility testing using bioMérieux’s BACT/ALERT; and hemoglobinopathy testing using capillary electrophoresis.

Their CBB adopted both an automated processing plat- form (Sepax – GE Healthcare) and an automated cryo- preservation platform (BioSafe – Thermogenesis) which robotically moves the unit after a controlled rate of freez- ing. They use a closed processing kit by GE Healthcare and sterile docking devices to reduce bioburden risk. LifeSouth has a unique in-house software develop- ment team. To better meet their customers’ needs, the IRLs final report includes donor compatibility percent- ages based on patient antibodies present, supplementary information to assist with the interpretation of results, transfusion recommendations, and applicable references to articles.

Education and training Demonstration of proper pipetting technique for molecular testing

In addition to highly skilled and certified technolo- gists and Specialists in Blood Banking (SBBs), they have a Quality Assurance (QA) department which conducts regular reviews and audits. Each lab has a designated QA representative.

LifeSouth has an in-house Technical Communications department which specializes in technical writing and


Each lab has designated Area Safety Coordinators (ASCs) who monitor safety practices and conduct emergency drills. Together with the laboratory’s QA representative, nonconformities are monitored for trends and protocols for Corrective Action Preven- tive Action (CAPA). Lab staff participates in root cause analysis (RCA) and follow a systemic plan to avoid recurrence.

A dedicated Laboratory Training Coordinator manages distribution and completion of training and competency assignments.

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