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Red Cross rolls out time-saving RapidPass health history system in Oklahoma

Blood donors can save a few minutes by using the new American Red Cross RapidPass online health history system.

RapidPass streamlines the process by allowing donors to complete predonation reading and health history questions online from their own computers. The system, rolled out for Oklahoma last month, is expected to reduce blood donation times by up to 15 minutes.

"When people come to donate, they are giving more than blood — they are also generously giving their time," said Jan Hale, Oklahoma communications manager. 

The holiday season tends to slow blood donations, especially since about 20 percent come from students, she said.

"We want to work ahead," Hale said.

Of particular need are O negative — the universal donor — as well as A negative and B negative, but all blood types are needed for a reliable supply. 

"If you don't know your blood type, it's a great way to find out," Hale said.

Blood can be used whole or split into plasma and platelets to potentially save three lives with one donation, she said.

The Red Cross operates its own blood bank and keeps the information within its system so donors can update their profiles before future donations. 

A medication list and out-of-country travel map are included in the system to determine if donors are disqualified from donation even before they make it to a site.

If you donate

Required at check-in is a blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification. People who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

High school students and other donors 18 and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

To get a RapidPass on the day of a blood donation, donors should visit and complete all of the questions, print the RapidPass or show it on a mobile device when arriving.

Though an appointment isn't needed to use it, donors are encouraged to make an appointment by using the Blood Donor App, visiting or calling (800) RED CROSS to further expedite their donations.