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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Blood drive attendance up thanks to digital reminders

Will Ferguson
Will Ferguson / Arizona Daily Wildcat James Wilson, a freshman mechanical engineering major, donates blood. Members of the Red Cross collect blood from volunteers on the University of Arizona campus. The photos were taken on Friday, April 27, 2012.

College students are more likely to attend blood drives they signed up for if they receive a digital notification beforehand, according to a study conducted by a UA professor and her students.

Joanna Masel’s evidence-based medicine class works on a different study each semester. Her students analyze the collected data and try to apply it in real life situations, she said. This semester, they sent a group of students blood drive appointment reminders via email, text message or phone call, after Red Cross representatives said that students who sign up for campus blood drives often do not show up to their scheduled appointment.

“The goal is to teach them how to do research,” said Masel, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “And if we can find helpful results along the way, then that’s great.”

The study was based on 129 appointments made by students. About half of the students that signed up for the blood drive received some sort of digital reminder, while the other half
did not.

Of the 129 appointments, 58 students attended the blood drive. Out of the 44 individuals that received emails, 25 showed up and of the 30 that received text messages, 16 attended.

In regards to blood drive attendance, this was considered to show positive correlation, said Elizabeth Cox, a UA alumna and president and project coordinator of the UA’s Red Cross club. To see a real effect, however, a larger population would need to be studied.

Texting students right before their appointments did increase the “show up rate,” she said.
“They said it made a difference,” Cox added.

Students solicited to attend the blood drive on the UA Mall were also more likely to show up to their appointment than those recruited via phone call or online.

Ryan Stertz, a business economics senior, said in the eight blood drives he has previously signed up for, he only remembered to attend one.

“This time, they sent me an email, a text, and gave me a call,” he said. “They hit me on all three and I couldn’t ignore them.”

James Wilson, a mechanical engineering freshman, was one of the students in the control group that did not receive any appointment reminders. He said he relied on his friend to tell him about the appointment after he signed up.

“It would have been great if they had sent me a reminder,” he said.

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