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Should the U.S. create a national blood transfusion reporting system?

blood donation.jpg

Here's a shocking discovery: the United States is one of the only developed countries not to have a national blood transfusion reporting and safety system.

Such a system could improve the safety of transfusions by monitoring adverse reactions or tracking blood supplies that are potentially tainted because a donor later became ill with an infectious disease, reports the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog.

Matthew J. Kuehnert, who oversees blood safety issues at CDC, told the Health Blog that most transfusion reactions don’t have to be reported at all, “and even the most serious transfusion reactions are underreported, possibly because of the threat of punishment.” A public health surveillance system “would operate with the goal of quality improvement, with each facility looking at its own data and sharing it confidentially,” Dr. Kuehnert says.

Two pilot programs, a collaborative project between the federal government and health organizations, and another effort involving nine hospitals, are testing the feasibility and effectiveness of an Internet-based reporting system.

Photo by The US Army

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