Background - Low hemoglobin level is a common cause of donor deferral and results in a huge loss of the donor pool. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile application as an educational tool to enhance donor return and improve hemoglobin levels after deferral.
Materials and methods - This was an interventional study involving 382 blood donors who were deferred for low hemoglobin. The donors were divided equally into two groups: a control group and the intervention group. The control group received standard management for low hemoglobin deferral, which includes a short counseling session and a 1-month course of oral iron therapy. The intervention group used a mobile application in addition to standard management. The primary endpoint was the number of blood donors who returned during the 7 months of follow-up. The secondary endpoints were the hemoglobin increment at the first visit after the donors’ deferral.
Results - The return rate was higher in the intervention group, with 81.2% of the donors returning in the 7 months of follow-up compared to 66% of the control group (p<0.001). Male and female donors had mean hemoglobin increments of 1.0 g/dL and 0.7 g/dL, respectively, in the intervention group, compared to decrements of 0.2 g/dL and 0.4 g/dL, respectively, in the control group (p<0.001). Multivariable analysis showed a significant association between intervention method, education level and donation status on donor
return (p=0.015, p<0.001, and p<0.001, respectively).
Discussion - Higher return rate and greater hemoglobin increase in the interventional group could be attributed to features in the mobile application. Repeat donors had the highest odds of returning to donate, followed by those with a tertiary level of education, and those given the mobile application. This study showed that a mobile application was effective in enhancing donor return and increasing hemoglobin level among deferred blood donors on their first return.
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