Coney Island Hospital goes online to recruit new blood donors

By Bernie Monegain
09:46 AM

In an effort to boost blood donations in New York City, Coney Island Hospital has teamed up with Takes All Types to adopt an online approach to recruiting new and younger donors.

With Takes All Types' help, Coney Island Hospital will be the first New York City hospital to place tools and content on popular sites like Facebook and MySpace to promote blood donations and make it easy for donors to recruit friends. The hospital will use Takes All Types' technology to target donors in real-time, both geographically and by blood type, whenever it has a need for blood.

"The average age of blood donors is around 50, so there is an important need to attract new and younger donors," said Ben Bergman, executive director of Takes All Types. "The demographic that use online social networks are most valuable to the future of the blood supply."

"Joining the Takes All Types network gives us new, cutting edge ways to reach out to prospective donors in our community," said Stuart Rosenhaus, director of the blood donor program at Coney Island Hospital. "Our participation with Takes All Types advances the cause of blood donation more broadly. Young people congregate more in virtual places like Facebook than in traditional gathering places like schools, churches or community centers,"

The approach has support from blood banks and the medical community. Takes All Types Medical Director Louis Aledort, MD, the Mary Weinfeld Professor of Clinical Research in Hemophilia at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, points out that "calling donors when they're needed can reduce the 'vein-to-vein time,' which showed real benefits to patients according to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine."

Every day more than 2,000 units of blood are needed in New York area hospitals. Last year alone, patients at Coney Island Hospital required more than 3,000 units. Blood and blood products are perishable and must constantly be replaced.