BACKGROUND: As demand for plasma-derived products grows, retention of voluntary nonremunerated plasmapheresis donors is crucial for many blood collection agencies. Currently, there is limited evidence of how to encourage first-time plasmapheresis donors to return and establish a high-frequency donation routine. This study tested the effectiveness of an intervention designed to increase retention of first-time plasmapheresis donors, increase donation frequency, and reduce time to return.
STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 6788 first-time plasmapheresis donors were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. Donors received an alternative e-mail or the business-as-usual control e-mail paired or not with a phone call. Outcomes were compared to the control e-mail in intention-to-treat analyses.
RESULTS: Compared with control, donors in all intervention conditions were more likely to donate plasma as their first return donation in 6 months; however, there were no significant differences between intervention conditions. Rates of plasma donation in the alternative e-mail, control e-mail plus call, and alternative e-mail plus call conditions were 17.0, 15.0, and 18.0% higher than control. While the extra donations obtained in the alternative e-mail condition were cost neutral, the cost of one additional donation in the call conditions ranged from 20.14-20.89 AUD (13.08-13.56 USD).
CONCLUSION: Communications specifically designed to encourage first-time plasmapheresis donors to view regular plasmapheresis donations as “easy”; to forward-book more than one appointment; and to provide education about plasma are effective in encouraging donors to return to plasma, to donate more frequently, and to return faster.