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Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 18, 2010
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

CDC to Monitor Reactions and Errors Associated with Blood Transfusions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched the first national surveillance system to monitor adverse events in patients who receive blood transfusions. CDC is encouraging healthcare facilities across the country to enroll in this new surveillance system, which was designed to improve patient safety.

By having a coordinated national network, CDC can summarize national data to understand better how to prevent adverse transfusion events such as reactions to blood products, medical errors, and process problems. The system, called the Hemovigilance Module, is part of CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). NHSN is an Internet-based surveillance system that allows healthcare-associated infection data to be tracked and analyzed to allow CDC and healthcare facilities to maximize prevention efforts. The Hemovigilance Module was developed by CDC in collaboration with AABB, an international association representing organizations involved in transfusion and cellular therapies.

"This is an important advance in monitoring the safety of transfusions for patients nationwide," said Matthew J. Kuehnert, M.D., director of the CDC’s Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety. "This system will enable healthcare facilities to better recognize blood transfusion-related adverse events so that they can improve the care of patients who have transfusions."

Hospitals will submit data confidentially to CDC through the Hemovigilance Module. CDC will review the national data in collaboration with AABB and other partners to help identify ways to improve the safety of blood transfusion. Previously, transfusion-related events were monitored by facilities on their own. Now, hospitals that join the Hemovigilance Module will have access to standardized data analysis tools, as well as an opportunity to see how their data compare to other hospitals throughout the United States.

"Healthcare 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, MD, chief of the branch that leads CDC’s NHSN. "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."

CDC provides the module at no cost to hospitals and healthcare facilities. The agency also provides participating facilities with training and ongoing user support at no cost to the facilities.

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