Since there is no artificial substitute for human blood, donating blood is an all too important aspect of our health care system. Whether someone is donating blood for a friend, family member, or even themselves, many donors still fear the dreaded needle. This common fear is often exasperated by the experience of having a nurse make an IV mistake by missing the vein. A new piece of technology could put an end to missed veins once and for all.

Vein visualization technology uses non-invasive infra-red technology to project an image of the donor’s veins onto the skin’s surface. The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is conducting a study on 900 donors, including 300 first-time donors, at the Chatswood and Elizabeth Street Donor Centres in Sydney. Preliminary findings have revealed that the technology is not only safe, but it also reduces anxiety among donors and improves donation comfort.

"Donor Centre staff have found the technology particularly useful in cases where the vein is not visible to the naked eye,” Dr. Dan Waller, one of the senior investigators on the trial, said in a statement. “We are keen to retain our young donors, and it is important to test if this technology may help us do that.”

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. While 15.7 million blood donations are collected every year in the U.S., over 41,000 blood donations are needed every day. Quelling the fears of would-be blood donors when it comes to needle insertion is important to increasing the number of annual blood donations.