CDC starts online surveillance of blood transfusion events

Hospitals asked to send data to monitor after effects

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will collect data about the after effects of blood transfusions in a new application of its Internet-based National Healthcare Safety Network, the agency has announced.

The CDC’s national safety network is a voluntary online surveillance system established in 2008 that collects data from more than 2,400 hospitals.

The agency is expanding the network to include the Hemovigilance Module, which is an application that collects and analyzes data on patients who have received blood transfusions. The module, as well as CDC support services, are available free to participating health care organizations.

The goal is to summarize the national data to help prevent adverse transfusion-related events such as reactions to blood products, medical errors and processing problems, the agency said in a news release. The American Association of Blood Banks collaborated in setting up the network.

Hospitals will submit data confidentially to the CDC, which will review the data with the blood bank group. Previously, hospitals monitored their own transfusion-related patient safety concerns.

“Health care facilities that join the Hemovigilance Module will now have a yardstick by which to measure their current safety initiatives and their future efforts,” said Dan Pollock, chief of the branch that leads the CDC online safety network. “Through this system, healthcare facilities can also see how their performance stacks up to similar facilities nationwide, with a goal of designing the best processes to protect patients’ health and reduce healthcare costs.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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