High ferritin

Lifeblood’s app for people with high ferritin

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 Lifeblood, and
  2. to provide education on possible causes of high ferritin.

The app takes the place of therapeutic referral forms.

How does the High Ferritin App work?

A doctor enters the patient’s 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 Lifeblood 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 then enters the patient details and their details into the app.

The app securely transmits the patient referral details, which are then accessed by the Lifeblood National Contact Centre to enable appointments to be made for venesection.

Patients approved by the app need to be regularly reviewed by their treating clinician for continued suitability for therapeutic venesection, unless they are on a three-monthly maintenance venesection schedule.  Annual review and referral via the app is required for patients with polycythaemia and porphyria cutanea tarda, along with those haemochromatosis patients with compensated cirrhosis.

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

If your patient has high ferritin unrelated to gene-positive haemochromatosis, they will not be eligible for therapeutic venesection at Lifeblood.

Provided this patient meets our other donor criteria, they 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’ll need to rule out some causes before they can donate.

The app provides you with the ability to securely transmit an electronic form to Lifeblood 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 they should undergo therapeutic venesection at Lifeblood, you can complete an Individual Assessment Form electronically, which will be securely transmitted to the Lifeblood therapeutic helpdesk at: therapeutichelpdesk@redcrossblood.org.au. A Lifeblood doctor may 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 Lifeblood accept therapeutic venesection for any other conditions?

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

  • Polycythaemia rubra vera
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda

Patients with secondary polycythaemia are not accepted as therapeutic donors by Lifeblood and there is no evidence to support venesection treatment.

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

Lifeblood 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. It is also 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 Lifeblood as a therapeutic donor prior to the introduction of the app can still attend as part of the therapeutic program.  If your patient hasn’t donated blood for more than two years however, they will require a referral through the High Ferritin App.

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

How should I manage a patient who was previously referred to Lifeblood 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, as no patient / referring doctor is stored by the app. Your patient’s medical records however should contain details of their previous Lifeblood referral, and if a new referral is required, you will need to use the app to generate a referral to Lifeblood.

What happens in the event the app is offline and I can’t 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 Lifeblood 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 does not store personal information relating to the patient or the patient’s venesection schedule. Personal information and the venesection schedule is transmitted to Lifeblood in a secure format.

The information transmitted by the app is accessed only by Lifeblood staff, who handle 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