BLOOD DONORS AND BLOOD COLLECTION
Evaluation of the impact of a personalized postdonation short
messaging service on the retention of whole blood donors
Carley N. Gemelli ,
Stephen T. Wright,
and Tanya E. Davison
Short messaging service (SMS) is
routinely used by blood collection agencies to remind
donors about appointments but has been applied less
frequently in interventions to increase return behavior.
This study aimed to investigate whether receipt of a
personalized postdonation SMS promoted donor
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS:
SMS was sent to 2605 whole blood donors who had
donated at one of six donor centers in Australia from
April to July 2015 and left without making a forward
appointment. Once their donation was dispatched to a
hospital or facility an SMS was sent informing the donor of
the hospital or town to which their blood was dispatched.
Donor’s return behavior over 12 months was examined,
comparing with a control group of donors who donated at
the same donor centers but did not receive an SMS.
Donors who received the SMS had
increased odds of returning to donate within 12 months,
with 70.3% of these donors returning (adjusted odds
ratio, 1.49; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-1.71),
compared with 62.6% of donors who did not receive the
SMS. The SMS was effective in retaining first-time,
novice, and established donors at 12 months, but had no
effect on experienced donors. The timing of the receipt of
the SMS postdonation had no impact on donor retention.
This study highlights the potential of
utilizing a postdonation SMS that informs donors where
their blood has been dispatched as a cost-effective tool
to increase retention, particularly among new donors,
who are traditionally more difficult to retain.
lobally, among blood collection agencies that
operate in a voluntary nonremunerated setting,
the recruitment and retention of blood donors
presents ongoing challenges for the provision
of a sustainable supply of blood and blood products.
Retained blood donors offer many advantages to blood
collection agencies over newly recruited donors. Specifi-
cally, they are more cost-effective to retain, due to the
costs associated with marketing acquisition, health status
testing, and blood typing new donors.
also tend to have healthier lifestyles, carry less risk of
infectious disease than new donors,
and offer a safer sup-
ply of blood that has already undergone testing.
tion, maintaining a panel of dedicated long-term donors
helps with the forecasting and management of blood sup-
However, despite the benefits, donor retention is
typically suboptimal. Australian figures extracted in
December 2015 indicated that only 46.2% of first-time
whole blood (WB) donors returned to donate within
ABBREVIATIONS: aOR 5 adjusted odds ratio; SMS 5 short
messaging service; WB 5 whole blood.
Clinical Services and Research, Australian Red Cross
Blood Service; and the
Institute for Health & Ageing,
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia; and
Innovation and Commercial Strategy and
and Research, Australian Red Cross Blood Service; and
Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Technology
Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
Address reprint requests to: Carley N. Gemelli, Clinical
Services and Research, Australian Red Cross Blood Service,
Level 3, 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia;
Australian governments fully fund the Australian Red
Cross Blood Service for the provision of blood, blood products,
and services to the Australian community.
Received for publication October 4, 2017; revision
received November 12, 2017; and accepted November 13, 2017.
Volume 58, March 2018 TRANSFUSION 701