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AABB > Press Room > Press Releases

National Hemovigilance Program Launches to Track Adverse Events Associated with Blood Transfusion 

February 18, 2010
CONTACT: Jennifer Garfinkel
+1.301.215.6557 or +1.301.215.6526

National Hemovigilance Program Launches to Track Adverse Events Associated with Blood Transfusion

Goal is to Enhance Patient Safety and Reduce Health Care Costs

Bethesda, Md. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today announced the launch of the Hemovigilance Module of the National Healthcare Safety Network, or NHSN, providing all U.S. hospitals that transfuse blood and blood components the opportunity to enroll and contribute data on adverse events associated with blood transfusions. The ultimate aim of this new surveillance system is to improve patient safety by enabling health care personnel to identify trends in their respective hospitals as well as allowing analyses and reviews to be performed at a national level.

“The U.S. is the only developed country that does not have an established method to track and monitor adverse events associated with blood transfusion on a national level,” said AABB CEO Karen Shoos Lipton, JD. “By collecting and analyzing these valuable data, the transfusion medicine community will be better equipped to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and make best practice recommendations to improve patient safety.”

This module was developed with expertise contributed from the private sector transfusion medicine community through a collaborative effort identified as the U.S. Biovigilance Network. It is the first and only national collaboration between government and nongovernment agencies designed to confidentially track adverse reactions and incidents associated with blood collection and transfusion as well as tissue, organ, and cell therapy transplantation. The Hemovigilance Module focuses specifically on patients who receive blood and blood components. All data entered into the Hemovigilance Module are fully protected and are not legally discoverable.

The transfusion medicine community, represented by the Interorganizational Task Force on Biovigilance, including AABB, is pleased to be a part of the public/private partnership that led to this new module. It is the hope of the task force that all U.S. hospitals will agree to participate and also to share their data on a confidential basis with AABB. In doing so, this will allow qualified experts access so that they can further analyze the data on a nationwide basis and recommend interventions specifically designed to improve practices and patient outcomes. Facilities interested in participating in this initiative should contact AABB’s Center for Data and Special Programs, biovigilance@aabb.org or +1.301.215.6588.

To contribute to and take part in the long-term analyses and anticipated patient safety improvements, hospital transfusion services are asked to express their interest in the module by completing the Intent to Participate form located on AABB’s Web site. Hospitals must enroll in the NHSN or, if already enrolled, must add the Hemovigilance Module to their suite of NHSN components. Once they participate in the Hemovigilance Module, facilities are strongly encouraged to join the special group being established by AABB to develop interventions and best practices to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of patient care.

A hemovigilance system for tracking adverse reactions in blood donors will launch in Spring 2010. Similar to the transfusion data collected through the Hemovigilance Module of the NHSN, the donor hemovigilance data will be aggregated so blood centers can compare their experiences with national patterns. This system is the outcome of a public-private collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the private sector, including AABB.

For more information about the U.S. Biovigilance Network, please visit www.aabb.org/biovigilance.

About AABB

Established in 1947, AABB is an international, not-for-profit association dedicated to the advancement of science and the practice of transfusion medicine and related biological therapies. The association is committed to improving health by developing and delivering standards, accreditation and educational programs and services to optimize patient and donor care and safety. AABB membership consists of approximately 1,800 institutions and 8,000 individuals, including physicians, scientists, administrators, medical technologists, nurses, researchers, blood donor recruiters and public relations personnel. Members are located in all 50 states and 80 countries. For more information, please visit www.aabb.org.


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