The barcode symbologies used on blood and blood products funded under the national blood arrangements are changing. Australia will move to the globally recognised standards of:
- ISBT128 2D DataMatrix for all fresh blood products (Red Cells, Platelets, Clinical Fresh Frozen Plasma, Cryoprecipitate, Cryo-depleted Plasma and Serum Eye Drops)
- GS1 2D DataMatrix for all plasma, recombinant and diagnostic products
For more information on the barcode please refer to the Barcoding Plasma Derivative Implementation Guide.
The adoption of these symbologies aims to:
- Enhance safety and supply security;
- Improve inventory management and financial sustainability;
- Increase efficiencies; and
- Facilitate global compliance and benchmarking.
Further details on the specifications are available in the Barcode specifications for blood and blood products funded under the National Blood Arrangements approved by the Jurisdictional Blood Committee:
Additionally, the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood (Lifeblood) has produced The Australian guidelines for the labelling of blood components using ISBT128 which provides further detail on the specific implementation of ISBT128.
Further, GS1 has produced GS1 General Specifications that provide the foundations of the GS1 standard that defines how identification keys, data attributes and barcodes must be used in business applications. including labelling of Blood Products GS1 which provides further detail on the specific implementation of GS1.
If you require any support in implementing the GS1 standard you can directly contact the GS1 Healthcare team on: 1300 BARCODE (1300 227 263) | email@example.com.
Status of Commercial Blood Product Labelling
CSL Behring implemented a transition label that consisted of both the GS1 linear, GS1 DataMatrix barcodes and the existing Codabar barcodes. During 2023 and 2024 CSL Behring will implement barcodes that will only include a GS1 DataMatrix and human readable information as the Codabar format will be removed to meet international standards. Refer to Transition of Australia's domestic plasma products for further information.
All other commercial suppliers have implemented either or both GS1 linear and GS1 DataMatrix, and human readable information. The requirement for serialisation is still being investigated.
Barcoding Frequently Asked Questions for Suppliers
- Barcoding FAQs for Commercial Blood Product Suppliers (pdf) (323.12 KB)
- Barcoding FAQs for Commercial Blood Product Suppliers (doc) (144.37 KB)
The NBA has identified that Australian Health Providers and LIS software vendors may need to be licensed and pay a registration and annual fee. International Council for Commonality in Blood Banking Automation (ICCBBA) provides three forms of licencing:
- Vendors - including companies that sell software using elements of the ISBT 128 standard, and companies that produce labels or containers bearing ISBT 128 data structures
- Limited use vendors - consultants who need access to the tables, or service providers who need access to the reference tables, but do not process ISBT 128 data structures
- Facilities - an organisation that assigns ISBT 128 DINs, product codes etc.
Information regarding licensing and registration fees is available on the ICCBBA website https://www.iccbba.org/registration-licensing/definitions-of-use.
Sample Commercial Blood Product Barcodes
Samples of barcodes created by suppliers will be uploaded here as they become available.
- Advate Rixubis Sample Barcodes (pdf) (595.71 KB)
- Flebogamma DIF Barcode Map (pdf) (314.84 KB)
- Privigen and Hizentra Barcodes (pdf) (231.92 KB)
- ALBUREX 20 AU Sample Barcodes (pdf)
- ALBUREX 5 AU - Sample Barcodes. (pdf)
- PRIVIGEN AU sample barcodes (pdf)
- HIZENTRA AU AU Sample Barcodes (pdf)
Status of Fresh Blood Component labelling
To enable health providers, laboratory information system providers and suppliers/distributors to update their systems and processes, the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood implemented a transition label in November 2018 that consisted of both the ISBT 128 linear barcodes, the existing Codabar barcodes and human readable within distinct sections. The transition label allowed facilities that had not implemented ISBT 128 capabilities to continue to manage inventory without disruption to the supply of blood.
Implementation and Timeline for ISBT 128 2D DataMatrix
The barcode symbology for all fresh blood products will be transitioning to ISBT 128 2D DataMatrix on 30 November 2025. At this time the Codabar barcode will be removed from the label. Fresh blood products funded under the national blood arrangements will be updated to include the following:
- ISBT128 2D DataMatrix
- ISBT128 linear barcodes
- Human readable information.
What do you need to know:
- The removal of the Codabar barcodes (bottom section) will mean the physical label will reduce in size to 100mm x 100mm [refer to image below].
- The Codabar barcodes will no longer be available post 30 November 2025.
- The ISBT 128 linear barcodes and eye-readable information appearing in the upper portion of the current label will remain, and a 2D DataMatrix will be added [refer to image below]. The placement of the 2D DataMatrix on the label is still being finalised.
- Facilities using Codabar barcodes transitioning to the ISBT 128 Labelling Standard or the 2D DataMatrix will be responsible for updating their Laboratory Information Systems and infrastructure, including barcode scanners.
- Lifeblood will be able to provide a sample of an updated ISBT 128 Blood Component Label with the 2D DataMatrix barcode to Health Providers to assist with upgrading IT systems and barcode scanners.
- The ISBT 128 linear barcodes can still be used without utilising the 2D barcode.
- Technical information regarding the ISBT128 standard is available from the following resources.
- Detailed information about ISBT 128 is available via the Australian Guidelines for the Labelling of Blood Components Using ISBT 128
- Technical information about ISBT 128 is available on the International Council for Commonality in Blood Banking Automation (ICCBBA) website
- Information on changes to barcode symbology used on blood and blood products funded under the national arrangements is available Barcode specifications for blood and blood products funded under the National Blood Arrangements
ISBT 128 Component Label. The position of the DataMatrix will be published when available.
A letter from the National Blood Authority and Lifeblood will be sent to all Australian Health Providers who manage blood and blood products advising of the changes. Additional information is available in the FAQs for laboratories and hospitals:
- ISBT128 DataMatrix Implementation - FAQs for laboratories and hospitals.docx
- ISBT128 DataMatrix Implementation - FAQs for laboratories and hospitals.pdf
For further information please contact the NBA on Support@blood.gov.au or Lifeblood on ISBT128enquiries@redcrossblood.org.au or review The Australian guidelines for the labelling of blood components using ISBT128.
Six-monthly updates will be available from this page.
Alternately, please do not hesitate to contact the National Blood Authority by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephone – 13 000 BLOOD (13 000 25663).