Blood Donors Can Answer Their Health History Questions Online

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Blood Donors

Blood donation just got easier with advent of the Internet Quality Donor System (iQDS) by Talisman.

The US Food & Drug Administration recently issued 510(k) clearance to market the system. As Talisman President Paul D. Cumming, PhD points out: "Now blood centers that use the Quality Donor System (QDS) can have their donors respond to health history questions in the privacy and convenience of their home or office instead of being asked questions at the blood drive." While donors must complete the questionnaire on the day of donation, they can now do it at a time and place that best fits their schedule.

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The prospective donor prints a bar-coded receipt from their computer that summarizes their health history interview and presents this to center staff when they arrive at the blood collection location. Center staff ask a few qualifying questions to ensure authorship of the of the form and, if acceptable, scan the bar-coded receipt entering the interview in the center's QDS system, review the interview and ask any necessary follow up questions. It is anticipated iQDS will save over 10 minutes of donor time at the donation center. Not only is this more convenient for donors and blood centers, but it is expected to increase the appeal for sponsorship of blood drives, since donors will be absent from their work or classrooms for less time.

iQDS is the latest addition to the QDS system which uses interactive multimedia, including pictures, maps and audible questions, to guide donors through the self-interview process. Donors interact directly with the computer in privacy, resulting in greater comfort answering personal questions and more candid responses. The system allows donors to complete the interview at their own pace, and also gives them a means for asking questions. To date over 1,250,000 donor self-interviews have been conducted on the QDS system by six major blood centers, a university hospital and clinical center and a private hospital system.

With the QDS system, which includes vital signs and phlebotomy modules as well as donor self-interviewing, blood centers reap the benefits of improved efficiency and increased accuracy in reporting. Accuracy of the donor interview is improved because QDS automates many previously manual processes thereby eliminating missed questions while highlighting those that need follow up, checking vital signs information, providing instant reference material, and ensuring that all required signatures are in place. Minimal training is required to use QDS-staff training takes two or three hours and donors require no training at all. The current three system modules of QDS are designed to eliminate over 90% of all FDA reportable errors.

Talisman is the recognized leader in development of automated donor health history screening systems for blood centers. In 2006, Talisman was one of only 55 companies (out of 6,000 eligible) that won the prestigious Tibbetts award, given annually to small firms that exemplify the best in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Much of Talisman's recent product development and scientific research is funded by a National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) SBIR grant entitled "Paperless Quality Donor System with Decision Making" (HL072635). Talisman is unique in that it is one of the few biomedical software developers to conduct scientific studies to validate claims for its products.

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