Therapeutic venesection

The Blood Service app for high ferritin patients is live at highferritin.transfusion.com.au. Paper-based referrals for new and existing therapeutic venesection patients are no longer accepted.

What is the High Ferritin App?

The High Ferritin app is a web-based tool which has two purposes:

  1. To enable doctors to determine the eligibility of patients and place referrals to undertake therapeutic venesection at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
  2. To provide education on possible causes of high ferritin.

The app takes the place of therapeutic referral forms.

How do I access the High Ferritin App?

You can access the app here highferritin.transfusion.com.au

How does the High Ferritin App work?

A doctor enters patient HFE genetics and ferritin levels into the app. An algorithm then determines whether the patient may benefit from therapeutic venesection.

If venesection is appropriate for the patient, the referring doctor is asked screening questions to determine if the patient would likely meet Blood Service donor eligibility guidelines. If the patient is likely to be eligible, a recommended and modifiable venesection schedule is determined for the patient. The treating doctor may then log into the app, record the patient’s details, and print a copy of the venesection schedule for the patient and their own records. The app securely stores patient referral details, which are then routinely accessed by the Blood Service National Contact Centre to enable appointments to be made for venesection.

What if the High Ferritin App determines that my patient is not eligible for therapeutic venesection at the Blood Service?

If your patient has high ferritin unrelated to gene-positive haemochromatosis, he or she will not be eligible for therapeutic venesection at the Blood Service. Provided this patient meets our other donor criteria, she or he may wish to become a voluntary whole blood or plasma donor. Donations can occur up to every 12 weeks. If your patient has high ferritin, you will need to rule out some causes before she or he can donate. The app provides you with the ability to generate a letter advising the patient may be suitable to commence donation as a regular blood donor.

If your patient is declined by the app but you still believe he or she should undergo therapeutic venesection at the Blood Service, you will need to complete a document available in the app and forward this to the Blood Service therapeutic helpdesk at: therapeutichelpdesk@redcrossblood.org.au.  A Blood Service doctor will then contact you to discuss the patient’s condition and to determine suitability for venesection.

What if my patient does not have high ferritin or the associated genetics.  Does the Blood Service accept therapeutic venesection for any other conditions?

Yes – the Blood Service will continue to accept patients with the following conditions, provided they are being treated by a Specialist Physician:

  • Polycythaemia rubra vera
  • Porphyria cutenea tarda

Patients with secondary polycythaemia are no longer accepted as therapeutic donors by the Blood Service.

What if my patient is accepted for therapeutic venesection by the app, but does not meet Blood Service eligibility guidelines?

Blood Service eligibility guidelines are regulated for the protection of our donors, staff and products. Some patients will not meet these donation guidelines and we will not be able to offer therapeutic venesection to these patients. You will need to consider referral to an alternative provider for venesection.     

Is the High Ferritin App medically sound?  Has it been peer reviewed?

The algorithm in the app was developed in consultation with Professor John Olynyk, an expert in the field of iron disorders, and has been approved by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand, and is endorsed by Haemochromatosis Australia.

My patient was a therapeutic donor prior to the introduction of the High Ferritin app.  Can he/she still continue to donate as part of the program?

In most cases, the answer is ‘yes’. Any patient previously referred to the Blood Service as a therapeutic donor prior to the introduction of the app can still attend as part of the therapeutic program.

The only exception to this is patients with secondary polycythaemia. The Blood Service no longer accepts these patients as therapeutic donors.

Can I see the records of patients who are not my own in the app?

No – the app only allows you to see the records of patients who have been registered by your account in the app.

How should I manage a patient who was previously referred to the Blood Service by another doctor using the app?

You will not be able to see the venesection schedule record of a patient previously referred by another doctor. Your patient’s medical records however should contain details of their previous Blood Service referral, and if a new referral is required you will need to use the app to generate a referral to the Blood Service. Referrals for existing patients should be generated using the ‘Existing Red Cross Blood Service therapeutic donor’ menu option.

What happens in the event the app is offline and I cannot refer a patient?

Scheduled maintenance of the app will occur out of usual business hours. If the app is offline, please contact us at the help desk on therapeutichelpdesk@redcrossblood.org.au.  A Blood Service staff member will contact you to assist with the referral process.

How secure is the patient data entered into the app?

The app has been developed in accordance with Federal Privacy legislation and the national privacy principles.

The app itself stores personal information relating to the patient, along with the patient’s venesection schedule. This information is stored in an encrypted format.

The information generated by the app is accessed directly by the Blood Service from the app. The Blood Service also handles information received in accordance with Federal Privacy law.

Other Questions?

If you have any other feedback relating to the app, please contact us: therapeutichelpdesk@redcrossblood.org.au