SARASOTA -- Area blood donors can keep their information -- blood type, when they last donated and how much they have donated -- right at the tip of their fingers.
Suncoast Communities Blood Bank is using a fingerprint biometric identification program to register donors and save time when they return.
BIO-key's TruDonor takes the donor's fingerprint, transfers their information to the computer system, and creates a unique template for each individual.
"This technology is great because it eliminates possibilities for duplicate records while remaining efficient," said Jayne Giroux, communications director at Suncoast Communities Blood Bank.
A simple fingerprint allows health care services to see a donor's name, identification number, and the date of their last donation.
"Most people aren't supposed to donate earlier than every 56 days," Giroux said. "Since sometimes people forget the last time they donated, having the records in the computer makes it more accurate and safe."
She said it also helps them keep track of younger donors.
"It's really helpful for teens, high school students, and college students who may not carry their IDs around with them at all times like us adults," Giroux said. "This system allows them to donate their blood without having a form of identification."
Giroux said Tru-Donor has been a great addition to the SuncoastCommunities' record-keeping system sinceit was introduced in May.
She said the technology has made them moreefficient and allows themto keep accurate recordsfor donors and recipients.
Suncoast Communities Blood Bank receiveda $26,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to allow it to become the first blood bank in the country to use BIO-key's TruDonor program.
Since its adoption of the identification technology, the blood bank has seen improvement in the donation process.
"With the old method of registering, it would probably take two minutes, but with this new method it takes only two seconds," Giroux said.
The new donor identification system is the most useful method of registering according to Bio-key International's vice president of corporate development, Jay Meier.
"Our system provides stricter auto-control and helps reduce liability costs," Meier said.
Where it is adopted by hospitals or the medical industry, it can also reduce the risk of fraud, Meier said.
"We can accurately see who got treated and who did not," Meier said.
Meier said the fingerprinting system can follow patients and donors to various medical facilities and to blood donation facilities.
"The fingerprints are useful because it prevents data from getting lost while facilitating the transfer of records from one place to another," Meier said.