Haemovigilance is a key area of focus for both the Australian and international blood sectors and is defined by the International Haemovigilance Network (IHN) as:
'… A set of surveillance procedures covering the whole transfusion chain (from the collection of blood and its components to the follow-up of recipients), intended to collect and assess information on unexpected or undesirable effects resulting from the therapeutic use of labile blood products, and to prevent their occurrence or recurrence …'(1, 3)
Haemovigilance is an important and integral part of transfusion medicine. International programs, such as the UK's Serious Hazards of Transfusion (SHOT) provide valuable data on the occurrence of transfusion-related adverse events and as a result drive the introduction of initiatives which enhance the safety of the transfusion process. Haemovigilance also has a significant role to play in optimal blood usage and patient blood management initiatives, key areas for the Blood Service.(2)
The National Blood Authority is responsible for haemovigilance in Australia under the governance of the Haemovigilance Advisory Committee.
Health service organisations are required by the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 7 on Blood and Blood Products to participate in heamovigilance activities conducted by the organisation or at the state or national level to ensure that adverse events are included in incident management and investigation systems.
The Blood Service also plays a significant role in haemovigilance through its links with the jurisdictional programs (such as STIR, BloodSafe and Blood Watch), and as an intrinsic part of the 'vein‑to‑vein' transfusion process through its collection, manufacture and supply of blood components and as provider of transfusion expertise.
- De Vries RRP, Faber JC, Robillard P. Hemovigilance: an effective tool for improving transfusion safety. Oxford, UK, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2012.
- National Blood Authority. Australian Haemovigilance Report 2016. Barton, ACT: NBA, 2013.
- Faber JC. Worldwide overview of existing haemovigilance systems. Transfusion and Apheresis Science 2004;31:99–110.