Evaluation of the National Healthcare Safety Network Hemovigilance Module for transfusion-related adverse reactions in the United States

Author Department

Pathology; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Hemovigilance Module (HM) collects data on the frequency, severity, and imputability of transfusion-associated adverse events. These events contribute to significant morbidity and mortality among transfusion patients. We report results from the first systematic assessment of eight attributes of the HM.


Standard methods were used to assess the HM. Evaluation data included training materials, system modification history, and facility survey information. A concordance analysis was performed using data from the Baystate Medical Center's (Springfield, MA) electronic transfusion reporting system.


In 2016, system representativeness remained low, with 6% (277 of 4690) of acute care facilities across 43 jurisdictions enrolled in the HM. In 2016, 48% (2147 of 4453) and 89% (3969 of 4,453) of adverse reactions were reported within 30 and 90 days of the reaction date, respectively, compared to 21% (109 of 511) and 56% (284 of 511) in 2010, demonstrating improved reporting timeliness. Data quality from most reactions was adequate, with 10% (45 of 442) misclassified transfusion-associated circulatory overload reactions, and no incomplete transfusion-transmitted infection data reported from 2010 to 2013. When compared to the Baystate system to assess concordance, 43% (24 of 56) of NHSN-reported febrile reactions were captured in both systems (unweighted kappa value, 0.47; confidence interval, 0.33-0.61).


Since the 2010 HM pilot, improvements have led to enhanced simplicity, timeliness, and strengthened data quality. The HM serves an important and unique role despite incomplete adoption nationwide. Facility efforts to track and prevent transfusion-associated adverse events through systems like the NHSN HM are a key step toward improving transfusion safety in the United States.