National Transfusion Dataset to Expand With $2.9 million MRFF Grant

A $2.9 million Australian Government MRFF grant will expand the scope of data captured in the National Transfusion Dataset, an ARDC co-investment project.
Bag of donated blood for transfusion

The National Transfusion Research Data Infrastructure Initiative has received $2.9 million from the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to expand the scope of data captured in the National Transfusion Dataset, an ARDC co-investment project, and facilitate research that addresses national priority areas.

The ARDC co-investment project, National Transfusion Dataset, is forming the first integrated national database of blood use in Australia. It is collecting information about where, when and how blood products are used across all clinical settings. It will be an invaluable resource for understanding: 

  • how and why blood products are used
  • the characteristics of those receiving transfusions
  • clinical outcomes after transfusion.

The dataset will be available for use by researchers, clinicians, government, industry and others to inform patient care, develop clinical guidelines, and generate hypothesis-driven research in the area. 

The MRFF-funded project, led by the Transfusion Research Unit at Monash University, will expand to include even more structured data from national hospital and pre-hospital services and clinical registries, blood donation and product data from Lifeblood Australia, and a cutting-edge project using artificial intelligence algorithms to analyse unstructured data in the form of hospital electronic medical records.

The expansion will facilitate research into national priority areas, including:

  • areas of high use of blood products, such as to support critically ill patients and those with major haemorrhage or bone marrow failure
  • development of haemovigilance datasets to monitor blood product safety
  • health economic analyses of blood product use
  • Australia’s first registry-based transfusion clinical trial.

Professor Erica Wood, Head of the Transfusion Research Unit at Monash University, leads the National Transfusion Research Data Infrastructure Initiative.

“We’ve been very pleased to work with the ARDC on this important research. Blood products can save lives, but they carry risks and costs, and they are donated by volunteers, so it’s essential that we use them wisely. We need better national data to improve our practice and outcomes, and securing this additional MRFF funding and bringing new partners on board will really help develop the project further.”  

The ARDC is excited to see the impact of its co-investment in important data infrastructure expanding through the MRFF grant. 

Dr Adrian Burton, Director of Data, Policy and Services at the ARDC, said, “This precious national dataset saves and improves the lives of Australians who undergo blood transfusion during critical treatment of diseases such as leukaemia. Clinicians, researchers, industry and policy makers will now have a national data asset to accelerate their work. The data itself is infrastructure that will support productive research and health service improvement for many years into the future. 

“National coverage, standardisation, governance and scale are difficult to achieve without national research infrastructure support. Australia’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) provides Australian researchers with significant advantages.” 

The new National Transfusion Research Data Infrastructure Initiative is a partnership between:

  • Monash University’s NHMRC-funded Blood Synergy research program and NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Critical Care
  • Alfred Health
  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG)
  • Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC)
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion (ANZSBT)
  • Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC)
  • CSL Behring
  • Flinders Medical Centre
  • Lifeblood Australia (formerly, Australian Red Cross Blood Service)
  • National Blood Authority (NBA), Australia.

Learn more about the MRFF-funded project, National Transfusion Research Data Infrastructure Initiative.

The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.

Author

Jo Savill, ARDC

Reviewed by

Catherine Brady, Rhys Williams, Dr Adrian Burton, ARDC, and Prof Erica Wood, Monash University

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