Comparison of deferral rates using a computerized versus written blood donor questionnaire: a randomized, cross-over study [ISRCTN84429599]
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BACKGROUND: Self-administered computer-assisted blood donor screening strategies may elicit more accurate responses and improve the screening process. METHODS: Randomized crossover trial comparing responses to questions on a computerized hand-held tool (HealthQuiz, or HQ), to responses on the standard written instrument (Donor Health Assessment Questionnaire, or DHAQ). Randomly selected donors at 133 blood donation clinics in the area of Hamilton, Canada participated from 1995 to 1996. Donors were randomized to complete either the HQ or the DHAQ first, followed by the other instrument. In addition to responses of 'yes' and 'no' on both questionnaires, the HQ provided a response option of 'not sure'. The primary outcome was the number of additional donors deferred by the HQ. RESULTS: A total of 1239 donors participated. Seventy-one potential donors were deferred as a result of responses to the questionnaires; 56.3% (40/71) were deferred by the DHAQ, and an additional 43.7% (31/71) were deferred due to risks identified by the HQ but not by the DHAQ. Fourteen donors self-deferred; 11 indicated on the HQ that they should not donate blood on that day but did not use the confidential self-exclusion option on the DHAQ, and three used the self-exclusion option on the DHAQ but did not indicate that they should not donate blood on the HQ. The HQ identified a blood contact or risk factor for HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted infection that was not identified by the DHAQ in 0.1% to 2.7% of donors. CONCLUSION: A self-administered computerized questionnaire may increase risk reporting by blood donors.
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