As blood collection agencies (BCAs) face recurrent shortages of varying blood products, developing a panel comprising donors who are flexible in the product they donate based on same-time inventory demand could be an efficient, cost-effective inventory management strategy. Accounting for prior whole blood (WB) and plasmapheresis donation experience, this article explores current donors’ willingness to change their donation product and identifies the type of information required for such donation flexibility.
Telephone interviews (mean, 34 min; SD, 11 min) were conducted with 60 donors recruited via stratified purposive sampling representing six donor groups: no plasma, new to both WB and plasma, new to plasma, plasma, flexible (i.e., alternating between WB and plasma), and maximum (i.e., high frequency alternating between WB and plasma) donors. Participants responded to hypothetical scenarios and open-ended questions relating to their and other donors’ willingness to be flexible. Responses were transcribed and content was analyzed.
The most frequently endorsed categories varied between donor groups with more prominent differences emerging between the information and support that donors desired for themselves versus that for others. Most donors were willing to change donations but sought improved donation logistics and information regarding inventory levels to encourage flexibility. The factors perceived to facilitate the flexibility of other donors included providing donor-specific information and information regarding different donation types.
Regardless of donation history, donors are willing to be flexible with their donations. To foster a flexible donor panel, BCAs should continue to streamline the donation process and provide information relevant to donors’ experience.