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 may then log into the app, record the patient’s details, and print a copy of the venesection schedule for the patient and their own records.

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

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 generate a letter 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 he or she should undergo therapeutic venesection at Lifeblood, you will need to complete a document available in the app and forward this to the Lifeblood therapeutic helpdesk at: therapeutichelpdesk@redcrossblood.org.au

A Lifeblood doctor will 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 cutenea tarda

Patients with secondary polycythaemia are no longer accepted as therapeutic donors by Lifeblood.

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.

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

Can I see the records of patients who are not my own in the app?

Yes, treating doctors who share patient care and are registered with the app can view shared patient records. Instructions on how to share records can be found in the app.

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. 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. Referrals for existing patients should be generated using the ‘Existing Red Cross Lifeblood therapeutic donor’ menu option.

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 stores personal information relating to the patient, along with the patient’s venesection schedule. This information is stored in an encrypted format.

The information generated by the app is accessed directly by Lifeblood from the app. Lifeblood also handles 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


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