Evaluation of the impact of a personalized postdonation short messaging service on the retention of whole blood donors

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Journal Article
Transfusion, 2018, 58 (3), pp. 701 - 709
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© 2017 AABB BACKGROUND: 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 retention. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A postdonation 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSION: 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.
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