It's well known that blood donors perform a vital, life-saving community service, but for some, regular blood donation is an important part of staying healthy.
More than 12,000 Australians are 'therapeutic' donors, regularly visiting the Red Cross Blood Service to help reduce the amount of iron in their blood, a condition which can eventually impair organ function.
Murdoch University researchers have worked with the Blood Service to develop a web-based app, allowing doctors to instantly refer their patients to make these 'therapeutic' donations.
Murdoch University Professor John Olynyk is an expert in the field of iron disorders. He, and his team, developed the app's complex algorithm used to determine whether a patient is eligible for referral.
"Before the app, patients often had to wait up to three months because of a backlog in paperwork. Now it's immediate, meaning people can access this treatment faster and for free," Professor Olynyk said.
"This application will not only benefit patients, but will also allow doctors to better keep track of treatments. It's a fantastic example of modern technology being applied to improve health outcomes.
"The app also ensures that only the correct patients requiring treatment are referred to the Blood Service."
The web-based app is compatible across a wide range of devices, including normal web browsers, tablet computers and smart phones.
Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson Shaun Inguanzo estimates the app will save the Blood Service over $1 million a year in processing and management costs.
"This new app will save time for patients, simplify a complicated process and allow our medical staff to focus more of their resources on supplying blood to patients in need," he said.
The Gastroenterological Society of Australia, the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand and Haemochromatosis Australia have endorsed the new tool.
For more information about the app, visit www.highferritin.transfusion.com.au.